My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, begins with teen-aged Anna and her visit to see a lawyer due to the fact that she wants to sue her parents. Anna was specifically conceived through genetic engineering in order to save her sixteen year-old sister Kate, who has a rare form of terminal cancer. In this respect, Anna has spent her entire life, literally, in and out of hospital settings in order to donate blood and other parts of herself in order to save Kate. She is tired of being prodded, and tired of having lack of control over decisions made regarding her own body. Anna is now at the point in her life where she wants to be free of the restrictions and parental decisions that have bound her to her sister’s life. Therein begins a dilemma of huge proportions in so many aspects.
Kate, meanwhile, doesn’t always seem to appreciate what has been given to her. Her parents dote on her every whim, even those whims that aren’t necessary for survival. They do this to the extent that they often forget they have two other children. Kate is their main focus in life, yet Anna is expected to yield pieces of her body at any given moment.
The fact that the parents emotionally neglect Anna and give up on their son Jesse are integral to the fact that they are not able to make the right decisions that are in the best interests of Anna.
My Sister’s Keeper deals with the extreme issues of ethics, morals, and the social and legal ramifications of genetic engineering. All of these dilemmas are masterfully conveyed within the pages of this compelling story. Picoult is brilliant in her assessment of the issues and repercussions regarding the choices made by the family members and others involved in the situation. She raises a lot of questions, and leaves the reader with a lot to ponder. Which sister is the actual keeper? Is there an answer to that question? You read and decide.
I highly recommend My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, to everyone.