Summary and book reviews of My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sister's Keeper

by Jodi Picoult

My Sister's Keeper
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 423 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2005, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

Winner of the 2005 BookBrowse Diamond Award for Most Popular Book

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

Chapter One: Anna

When I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why. The mechanics I understood -- my older brother Jesse had filled me in -- although at the time I was sure he'd heard half of it wrong. Other kids my age were busy looking up the words penis and vagina in the classroom dictionary when the teacher had her back turned, but I paid attention to different details. Like why some mothers only had one child, while other families seemed to multiply before your eyes. Or how the new girl in school, Sedona, told anyone who'd listen that she was named for the place where her parents were vacationing when they made her ("Good thing they weren't staying in Jersey City," my father used to say).

Now that I am thirteen, these distinctions are only more complicated: the eighth-grader who dropped out of school because she got into trouble; a neighbor who got herself pregnant in the hopes it would keep her husband from filing for divorce. I...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. One of this novel's strengths is the way it skillfully demonstrates the subjectivity people bring to their interactions with others. The motivations of individual characters, the emotions that pull them one way or another, and the personal feelings that they inject into professional situations becomes achingly clear as we explore many different viewpoints. For example, despite Julia and Campbell's attempts to remain calm, unemotional and businesslike when they deal with one another, the past keeps seeping in, clouding their interaction. The same goes for the interaction between Sara and Anna during the trial. Is there such a thing as an objective decision in the world of this story? Is anyone capable of being totally rational, or do...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    BookBrowse Awards
    2005

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you?   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (268 words).

Media Reviews

People (Critic's Choice)

[Second Glance] is a fast-paced, densely layered exploration of love, the pull of family and the power of both to transcend time.

People (Critic's Choice)

[Second Glance] is a fast-paced, densely layered exploration of love, the pull of family and the power of both to transcend time.

USA Today

Picoult's characters are so compelling that the reader hopes this won't be the last time we meet.

The Washington Post - Katherine Arie

Picoult is at her best, and most moving, when writing from the perspective of Anna's mother, Sara. Exhausted by Kate's recurrent illness, Sara is often on edge and overwhelmed. But she is also focused Her tenacity, her vigilance and her support during Kate's aggressive cancer treatments all give Kate a reason to live. Mothering takes on new meaning, and the mundane becomes surreal Kate's goldfish, according to the oceanologist Sara consults in a desperate effort to save the pet's life, requires bottled water, and the mere thought of buying Jesse a new pair of soccer cleats after Kate relapses seems downright obscene.

The Boston Globe

Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships.

Publishers Weekly

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding ..... Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion.

Kirkus Reviews

There can be no easy outcomes in a tale about individual autonomy clashing with a sibling's right to life, but Picoult thwarts our expectations in unexpected ways. Despite overplotting, then, a telling portrait of a profoundly stressed family.

Library Journal - Kim Uden Rutter

Picoult's timely and compelling novel will appeal to anyone who has thought about the morality of medical decision making and any parent who must balance the needs of different children. Highly recommended.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Starred Review. Told in alternating perspectives by the engaging, fascinating cast of characters, Picoult's novel grabs the reader from the first page and never lets go. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, controversial, and honest book.

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

A perfect ending twist
My Sister’s Keeper is Jodi Picoult’s 11th novel. It centres around Anna Fitzgerald who has retained lawyer Campbell Alexander to sue her parents for the right to her own body. Anna was conceived to provide (initially) cord blood for her older sister ...   Read More

Stephanie

Another great title from Picoult
Jodi Picoult is by far my favorite author, and once again with My Sister’s Keeper she does not disappoint. In this story, Picoult deals with the issue of “savior siblings” and what happens when the created sibling no longer wants to be poked, prodded...   Read More

Rebecca

Becca
All I can say is wow. One of my all time favorites. This book touched my heart, I couldn't imagine a better perspective she could have chosen. You can honestly feel the tragedy of this book. It is so difficult to believe Jodi Picoult could have lived...   Read More

Melon S. Jeans

Great Book
The story is about a girl with struggles in her family. She wants out of the situation she was born to do; save her sister. It comes down between the mothers with representing herself and the daughter and her lawyer representing for her. I ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Bibliography:

  • Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices (1992)
  • Harvesting the Heart (1993)
  • Picture Perfect (1995)
  • Mercy (1996)
  • The Pact (1998)
  • Keeping Faith (1999)
  • Plain Truth (2000)
  • Salem Falls (2001)
  • Perfect Match (2002)
  • Second Glance (2003)
  • My Sister's ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked My Sister's Keeper, try these:

  • The Forgetting Time jacket

    The Forgetting Time

    by Sharon Guskin

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah's single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now - and life as she knows it stops.

  • Hyde jacket

    Hyde

    by Daniel Levine

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A reimagining of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the monster's perspective, Hyde makes a hero of a villain.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.