Sunday, October 11, 2009

Book Review Sunday

I am a self-proclaimed bookworm, reading everything and anything I can get my hands on.

Every now and then I read a book that explodes my neurons, gives me chills, and literally takes my breath away.

Case in point: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

For some reason, I had convinced myself to put off reading this book, despite knowing it was a huge phenomenon and bookstore top seller (and now even a movie with Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin!). I had convinced myself that it was chick lit – typically schlocky and uninspired.

As a person with chronic illnesses, I have a lot of empathy for Kate’s character – diagnosed with a rare kind of leukemia shortly after birth. For a long time, there were no titles on my illness, and subsequently I always felt as though death were right around the corner. When you are sick you have a tendency to get absorbed in your illness and feel simply like a giant burden to others. But this novel really introduced me to the other side of the story…the family members that are subsequently affected by this constant reminder of death.

The plights of Sara (the mother who becomes absolutely absorbed in the potential loss of one child, neglecting the others), Brian (the father and mediator, never knowing which path is morally right), Jesse (the brother who turns to rebellion in order to let out his feelings of frustration), and most importantly Anna (the daughter designed as a genetic match of replacement parts for her older sister – who has to fight for the rights to maintain her own body), are heartbreaking and honestly described.

Many of us are aware that in a situation of terminal illness, it is no-win deal. This book transcends that, and points out the major mistakes that individuals tend to make in order to cope with the situation of a loved one dying. It is easy to understand Kate’s desire to let go and let her family live in peace, her mother’s desire to hold on as tightly as possible, and Anna’s desire to give parts of her body to her sister but also her fear for her own life and safety.

I was absolutely taken aback by the ending. I should have seen it coming, but never did. My heart was shattered and it will probably be a few days until I recover from the novel.

If you need a good cry, or simply a real thinker of a book – I highly recommend.

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