My Sister’s Keeper Novel Review: The Value of Family Appreciation

November 8, 2020 by Essay Writer

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult depicts the story of 13-year-old girl named Anna, who comes to her own decision to sue her parents for medical emancipation when she is expected to donate her own kidney to her older sister Kate, who is dying from terminal leukemia.

The novel itself, was very deep, and truly emotional at heart. Each page of the novel completely inspired me from the beginning to the end. I found this novel to not only be thought provoking but also very well written. An interesting aspect of this novel was that the story was not written from just one point of view, but from the perspective of four different characters which include Anna, her brother, and both her parents. The main character is still very obvious though which in this case is Anna, who is the youngest child in her family, and is forced to basically save her sister’s life, by donating parts of her own body.

From an early age, Anna has believed that her sole purpose was to save Her sister, Kate, also a main character, has leukemia. Although Kate is a main character, you don’t get to view her side of the story. The whole concept of this novel got me thinking about certain morals and about what I thought was right.

The beginning of the novel is set in 1990 and is told from the perspective of Sara, the mother of Anna and Kate. During this time, her firstborn daughter Kate is initially diagnosed with terminal Leukaemia. This brief opening chapter explores the events leading up to Kates diagnosis and in doing so it sets a precedent for the story altogether, as a majority of the novel is told in the present day. The alternation between character point of view was a bit difficult for me to keep up with and very repetitive, as each person’s account of events at the beginning of the novel were merely repeated from a different character perspective.

For example, when Sara talks about Anna’s first surgery which involved transplanting her marrow bone into her sister, she implies that Anna fully consented to this as she wanted to save her sister. In contrast to Anna’s perspective, she recounts the event as the first time she realised that she was in fact her “sister’s keeper” as she came to believe that her life’s purpose was that so her sister could continue to live. But this also left her in a vulnerable position where she sometimes felt isolated from the rest of her family because she didnt have a true purpose to her life. Though it was unique in the way that the author chose to implicate the story in this format, I didn’t really enjoy this particular aspect of the novel as the introduction. The fact that the whole story starts in the past, prior to the present events of the story was quite an enjoyable read, the reason being is that it gave me as a reader a good insight as to what happened prior to the upcoming events in the novel and it also gave me an understanding of each characters perspective while these events were happening.

This allowed me to understand more about each of the characters and also introduce me to the start of all the characters journeys that they were about to embark on in the novel. I throughly enjoyed the way that Jodi Picoult based this entire story on a true event. In which the real story involves the Ayala sisters, who’s story is uncannily similar to Anna and Kate. Marissa much like Kate in the novel was born to save her older sister Anissa’s life when she was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1988. I really like the way that this novel is based on true events as I felt that it evoked more raw emotion for me whilst reading it, in knowing the fact that this was based off a true event it makes for a more significant impact.

However, Anna’s story does sadden me, as she resorts to the idea that she was only brought into this world for the sake of saving her sister’s life. Because Anna is the perfect genetic match for her sister, Kate, from a very young age her parents would force her to undergo many surgeries. In which her own life was fundamentally put at risk soley for the survival of her sister, Kate. I personally think that it is somewhat cruel and unfair to burden a thirteen year old with that kind of responsibility, let alone make her feel and believe that her only purpose in life is to keep her sister alive.

The novels description of everyone’s feelings during these horrific events also evoked the same sort of sympathetic emotion for me, toward the fictional Fitzgerald family and also the Ayala family in real life. This evident in the novel itself when Sara says in court to her son Jesse, after just being told that her cancer-stricken daughter wishes to die. “That’s a lie, Jesse.” As Jesse then replies to his mother, ”Mum, no, it’s not. Kate’s dying and everybody knows it! You just love her so much that you don’t want to let her go!”

This piece of dialogue from the novel really dramatises the fact that Sara isn’t yet ready to let her daughter go, which is understandable for any mother especially in the case of Sara who has endured through a tremendously emotional journey to keep her daughter alive during these past few years.

This made me sympathize with Saras situation, as she comes to the realisation that the best thing she can do as a mother to release Kate from her pain and suffering, is to let her go. A decision as difficult as this, would have made her feel emotionally distraught at the thought of losing her child, as it would with any mother, but I think it also brought her some sense of clarity knowing that Kate was not afraid of her eventual fate with the reassurance that her child felt safe and loved in her last moments. I personally think that the character Sara is a beloved representation of a mother’s true nature at heart, where Sara was willing to do anything for the wellbeing for her daughter Kate just as any other mother would.

Overall, I thourougly enjoyed reading this novel and I personally feel like all students my age would benefit immensely from reading it. Because the main character Kate, is 16 years of age in the novel, I feel like as though all teenagers in the similar age area would feel sympathy for Kate because they all know what’s it’s like to be a teenager yet Kate’s confronting struggle with cancer makes it all the more difficult, and unfortunately for some this maybe the case as well.

The way that the Fitzgerald family stand together and unite to attempt to help their daughter/sister can perhaps act as a prompt for some families, that possibly aren’t there for each other as much. And after reading this novel families could begin to put things into perspective and start to appreciate one another more if they don’t already. I feel like anyone who reads this novel can learn a valuable lesson as they read along and go through the emotional journey alongside the Fitzgerald/Ayala family.


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