My Sister’s keeper- Jodi Picoult
Sometimes, it’s the feeling that overpowers the words being said or heard, and when that happens words are never enough to express what you’d really want to convey. This book by Jodi Picoult raised a turmoil of emotions inside me as I was reading it and when I finished it, I was not sure if I had enough words to express the beauty of what I read.
My Sister’s keeper is primarily a story about two sisters, sharing the camaraderie just like any two sisters would, but there is much more to what they share. Kate, the elder sister is diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia and Anna, who was genetically conceived by her parents to serve as a donor for her sister, is the one who has kept her going by donating her blood, lymphocytes and bone marrow from time to time or as need be, but just like she says- ‘it never stops’. Her life is tailored completely around Kate's illness, and unlike a normal teenager her age, she is unable to take part in activities she would have wanted to or plan her own future. On a quest to find who she really is she takes a step far too bold against her parents by filing a law suit for medical emancipation when she comes to know that Kate’s kidneys are failing and it might be soon that she will be asked to donate one herself. She is adamant on fighting over it rather than putting it to rest. Though it only looks like it is the story of these two girls, there is much more to it as a family. A family of five, the Fitzgeralds have been going through this troublesome period for 16 years, in the course of which their thought process has changed, their equations with their closed ones have changed, and they have unknowingly neglected one child because they paid much more attention to the other one’s health, with the journey of the neglected child and what he has landed himself into just to crave the attention of his parents from time to time, it is a story of how they survive through their losses.
While the plot is pretty much about Kate surpassing each stage of leukaemia and the Fitzgeralds finding themselves deep in the law suit, it is really the way the situations and thoughts of each family member have been presented which bring out the best in the book. While the actions of Sara, the mother, seem to anguish us when we read about them through Anna’s point of view, we empathize when we hear Sara’s side of the story. Therefore, the moment you form an opinion about one of the characters you will soon realise that you are wrong about thinking that way about them, and this goes on until you do not know whose side to take in the debate, since all of them seem justified at their own stands. This is exactly the reason why it raises a storm of emotions within the reader as he or she keeps on diving deeper in the book. And talking about the thrill, it never dies.
The characters are strong and do complete justice to the story, no extras and none useless. The Fitzgerald family comprises of Sara, Brian and their three children- Jesse, Kate and Anna. Anna’s attorney- Campbell Alexander and Guardian Ad Litem- Julia Romano, both of which are impressive as characters and have a side story running too, but at no point does it feel that it was unnecessary. Just like a story is important for any book to be good, the weaving of the characters sometimes decides its fate from good to fabulous. And, there is no doubt that Jodi Picoult left no stone unturned here. The portrayal of each character has been done proficiently with vivid character traits which sync with their thoughts and do not feel out of place.
While everything in the book keeps impressing us – be it the immaculate writing, the presentation, the characters, the pace of the story, the suspense caused in patches; it is the conclusion which is the most surprising, shocking, heart riveting and unbelievable. I say unbelievable for two reasons- 1. It wasn’t expected, the method in which the story was moving, the death of the sister was sure, but which sister, is the question, and the answer was shocking. 2. It didn’t convince me much. No doubt, I was shedding tears at the end of the book and I loved reading it, but really, it didn’t convince me and I felt an ache in my heart for such a beautiful book to be ending like this. It was not required. The end could have been predictable and we would have still loved the book. But, looks like such extreme ends instigate strong reactions in the reader, which decides whether they love it or hate it. The end makes Anna’s fight for the emancipation and the law suit look useless, it makes her look like a selfish rebellious thirteen year old who just went against her parents for nothing at the end, the family’s survival through the law suit with their other daughter on the death bed worthless. It appears as if to keep the motive alive of Anna being her sister’s keeper, the conclusion was thus designed; because you definitely feel strongly for Anna all through the book. I was hung over it for many days until I discussed it with my sister, who is an avid reader herself. This is an interesting point to discuss with readers and I am in the hope of receiving mixed but interesting views.
It is a must read for the string of emotions expressed and presented flawlessly, and also for the love of perfect writing.