My Sister’s Keeper

By Jodi Picoult

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Pocket Books, c2004, 2009

Genre: General fiction

ISBN: 9781439157268

Intended audience: Adult (but has won many awards for adult fiction for young adults, including a 2005 Alex Award and 2006 Heartland Award)

Number of pages: 500

Setting: Providence, Rhode Island

Time period: 1990- 2010

Plot summary: Thirteen-year-old Anna was born healthy, but has been hospitalized nearly as often as her older sister, Kate, who has leukemia.  From the moment she was born, Anna has donated organs to Kate; she is a perfect genetic match for her (unlike anyone else in her family).  Anna loves her sister and wants her to recover fully someday, but when Anna’s parents want her to give Kate one of her kidneys, Anna decides she has had enough and seeks legal counsel.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: This is a very fast paced story.  Each chapter is written with multiple short segments which move effortlessly between the present and the past.  The short segments seem to both accelerate the pace of the story and make it easy to read in short bursts (like on a work break, or waiting for the bus).

Characterization: The story is told in third person through multiple viewpoints.  The main viewpoints are through various family members, but also include Anna’s lawyer and guardian ad litem.

Frame: Leukemia sets the frame for this story.  While only one family member has the disease, it certainly affects the health of the entire family.

Story line: An intense and engrossing story about ethical dilemmas, making choices, love, and loss.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Sisters — Fiction.

Teenage girls — Fiction.

Organ donors — Fiction.

Leukemia — Patients — Fiction.

Parent and child — Fiction.

Domestic fiction

Similar authors:

From NoveList:  Anna  Quindlen; Sue Miller; Ann Hood; Luanne Rice; Anita Shreve; Michael Byers; Christopher A. Bohjalian; Jacquelyn Mitchard

Personal notes: This was an amazing book to read.  I can certainly understand why this author is so popular, from having read this story.

Other (themes, diversity):

Diversity – organ donor, organ transplant recipient, leukemia patients, female lawyer

Theme – sometimes there are no right choices

Jodi Picoult’s website

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