Title: My sister’s keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: New York : Atria/Washington Square, c2004.
Number of pages: 432
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Family Drama, Suspense, Adult books for Young Adults
Recommend to: 12 years old and up
Jodi Picoult website
Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award
Alex Award: 2005
Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards (Maryland): High School
Booklist Editors’ Choice – Adult Fiction for Young Adults: 2004
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards: Young Adult
School Library Journal’s Adult Books for High School Students: 2005
Virginia Readers’ Choice Award: High School (Grades 10-12)
Synopsis: This is the story of a family in crisis. Kate is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at a very early age. The outlook for Kate’s survival is not good so the doctor’s seek to find a bone marrow match. Her older brother Jesse is not a match. In an attempt to save Kate’s life her parents, Sara and Brian, use advance reproductive medical technology to conceive Anna, the perfect genetic match. Anna’s first act as medical savior is the blood from her umbilical cord. This is the beginning of a lifetime of Anna undergoing a variety of different medical procedure to help save Kate’s life. At thirteen, Anna decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation. Anna convinces Campbell Alexander to be her lawyer pro bono. Judge DeSalvo assigns a guardian ad litem, Julia, to the case. Anna clearly wants to be treated as an adult but she seems to be struggling with the request for medical freedom she says she desperately wants. Can Anna face her family if she stops being a medical donor? Can Anna face herself if she stops being a medical donor?
Analysis: Each chapter in this book is written from the perspective of one of the different characters. Each character has something to add to the complexity of the story. I love this style of story telling especially with a dilemma such as the one Anna finds herself in; there clearly is no perfect solution. The struggle to be seen as capable of deciding your own fate is one we all go through in the process of becoming an adult. The main character in this book is thirteen but this book has many adult themes. In suggesting this book to future students be warned there are two sex scenes and serious alcohol use by her brother Jesse. The author did give the book to her own twelve year old son to read. This is a great book for discussing: What is fair? What is right? What is moral? When does one person’s rights begin and another person’s end? How do we as a society deal with medical science that has outpaced our legal and moral understandings?