Review Detail4.7 24
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is a heartwrenching story told by a multitude of amazing characters. The plot revolves around a family whose youngest daughter, Anna, was created to be a genetic donor for their other daughter, Kate. Now 13 years old, Anna is bringing her parents to court - for the right to be medically emancipated, so that she can make her own decisions about what she does or does not have to donate - just as Kate desperately needs Anna's kidney.
Kate was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia when she was only 2 years old. Back then, the eldest child, Jesse, was 4. Now, Jesse is a rebellious teenager; Kate is 16 and in relapse; and Anna feels both taken for granted and invisible. The father, Brian, is a firefighter with an interest in astronomy; the mother, Sara, is a former lawyer who stopped practicing when she had children. Other main characters include Campbell Alexander, the lawyer Anna sought out to try her case, and a court-appointed guardian named Julia.
The chapters alternate between characters, always told in first-person. The only main character who doesn't speak in first-person chapters is the one at the heart of it all - Kate. Other characters of importance include Campbell's service dog, Judge, though Campbell refuses to say why he needs him; Julia's twin sister, Isobel aka Izzy; and Sara's older sister, Zanne.
It is an absolutely beautiful story. At first, I thought that being told from all of these points of view would hurt the narrative; soon, I realized, it helped it, as Picoult is able to establish a different 'voice' for each of the characters. The bulk of the novel takes place over the course of two weeks. Flashbacks are interwoven seamlessly, mostly through Sara's eyes, but also through dialogue as people discuss the past, glimpse photographs or reveal truths about themselves . . . and others.
Read it. Keep a pad and pen nearby to write down quotes - along with facial tissue to wipe your eyes.