Monday, February 8, 2016
My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult
This made the NY Times Bestseller list, so that's where I filed this in the 2016 reading challenge. It's also on Rory's list as well ;-)
I was really loving this book. Sure there were some annoying points (like WHY does Campbell keep telling people different reasons for his service dog? and are people REALLY that ignorant-or at least WERE they at the time-to think that service dogs are ONLY for people who are blind?), but it was engaging and hard to put down. It was a little confusing because it kept jumping narrators and also it kept jumping times. I can't even remember what year it was SUPPOSED to be in the "present" day of this story. There would be flashbacks within the chapters too, so the timeline of everything was sometimes hard to keep up with.
The thing I liked MOST about this book is that it made me think. I also kept juxtaposing the mother, Sara, with my good friend Christy. Christy's oldest child, her 12 year old daughter, was born with a kidney disorder that has always taken a lot of time, effort and resources. Right now, they are on their way to qualifying for transplant. They are required to wait until her kidneys are 100% gone and non-functioning (I don't know why, I don't know if there's a medical reason for this or if it's an arbitrary insurance rule), but they are currently waiting for the insurance to give them the go-ahead for them to test the first likely candidate for a donor. They are hoping to find a related donor, but they are asking that if anyone still wants to have children to NOT consider being a donor and they are NOT asking any of her younger siblings either! I looked up online and I guess in rare cases, there ARE minors who are living donors, but it's definitely not the norm. So the premise of this book from the get go was a little far fetched to me. The other issues Sara had were that she was SO tunnel vision on keeping Kate alive and healthy that she practically forgot that she had a son (and his criminal behaviors were completely ignored up until the last minute-and even then, his parents protected him from natural consequences by not turning him in for any wrong doing) and wasn't very sympathetic to Anna for wanting freedom from being tethered to her sister. That part was believable, because I know as a mom how much you want to do for each of your kids, but looking at my friend Christy, it's obvious that you can be focused on one child and still love and be aware of all your other kids. Christy has 5 children. And they all know as age appropriately as possible what is going on and they all get it. I'm sure they have their moments of jealousy when their mom is spending yet another several days in a totally different city with their sister, but they know how lucky they are to NOT be the one with a medical problem-they see the limitations their sister has because of her condition and they are not jealous of that. When their mom is home, she does her best to be present and there for her other kids as much as she is for her oldest. I'm not sure if it's perspective that this fictional mother lacks, or the refusal to accept anything that her own agenda. About halfway through the book, I was thinking, well, what does KATE want? Why isn't that a top consideration as well? It does come about, but not until much later.
The thing I liked the LEAST was the ending. I won't put any spoilers, but it felt like I was robbed of a decent, believable ending. It wasn't even close to what could have logically happened. I had been giving my husband the reader's digest version of this book because I wanted to talk about the issues it raised about parenting and parenting in the midst of a chronic or terminal illness. When I told him the ending his reaction was "What? It's like she couldn't make the decisions that she was trying to make her characters make so she just made this cop-out ending instead." She doesn't even leave the reader with a "was the right choice made?" because she eliminated choices. It reminded me of Twilight and the debate over whether or not Bella should become a vampire and how Meyer forced the choice upon us because it was either turn into a vampire or die giving birth to a half vampire. Only, I felt like I could accept that in Twlight MORE than I can accept the ending here.
I was going to give this book 4 stars. But just as the ending of "Curious Incident" pushed it up to 5 stars, the ending of this one pushed it down to 3. I'm not even sure I want to watch the movie adaptation.......