Once again, I am a bit behind on the program, but I just finished reading “My Sister’s Keeper”. Similar to the last review I wrote on “Sing You Home”, I think it’s only fair to find the downside to this seemingly touching novel.
*Warning: this review contains spoilers. If you want to read the book or are currently doing so, do not continue reading. If you don’t care, then carry on.
Picoult addressed many important issues in this novel, such as family life, battling cancer, and being sued. There is no doubt that she researched oncology effectively, but how she rambled on and on using complex medical terms was ridiculous. At one point, I began to wonder if she even understood all that vocabulary herself. This is not the only unnecessary thing in this novel. Picoult added in so many characters, that made absolutely no difference to the story. Take Jesse, the brother as an example; he would have made a difference if his parents noticed him, but they didn’t! He was setting houses on fire, and they didn’t care as much as they should have. We know that Brian and Sara are pre-occupied with Kate’s illness, so please, give them one more child to ignore. Izzy, Julia’s sister, is another character who’s presence was completely irrelevant to the story. One would assume that she was only there to support Julia through her drama with Campbell, but their relationship drama should not deserve enough attention to add another character in for it.
Then to top it all off, she kills off Anna. If you read the interview at the end of the book, Picoult claims this was the only ending that made sense to the medical issue at hand. It might have made sense to her, but as a reader, I felt cheated. Anna went through all the trouble to sue her parents so she wouldn’t have to give her kidney to Kate, and in the end, Picoult kills her off and takes her kidney anyway. It would be disrespectful to force someone do a favor that major against their will when they are alive, but it is despicable to take something that they fought so hard to keep when they are dead. Honestly, between Picoult and Sara Fitzgerald (the mother), I’m not sure who’s a worse person.
While I thought that overall, “My Sister’s Keeper” was a heartwarming story, it could be cut in half and it would be exactly the same.