My book club read this in 2006…. (pre blogging) I was still at that time journaling everything I read in a large three ring binder. The book turned out to be voted on as the book book we read of that year and I have that in my library on a plaque. I love that three years ago that we had chosen a book to be the best book we had read that year as a group is now going to be a movie. It’s not the first time we have done that…. but hey, thats a whole other blog post.
So – with the movie coming out soon, I thought I would dust off my notes on this book and blog review it at this time, using my thoughts from three years ago. This was, at that time, the first Jodi Piccoult most of had ever read.
The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character’s intentions and observations, but she doesn’t manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children’s mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna’s predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, 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.
(as written on 9/8/2006) This book? Fantastic! Jodi Picoult has an incredible gift with words. Her writing keeps you on the edge of your seat, the court case felt so real I may as well have been juror #1, hanging on every word. This book gives a different twist to sisters Kate and Anna. Kate has leukemia and Anna, her younger sister is born to supply Kate with the much needed bone marrow and blood cells that Kate needs. When Anna turns 13… she hires a lawyer for rights to her own body. This book makes you love, and it makes you hate. It deals with moral issues and matetrs of the heart. On a 1 to 5 rating I give it a 7+! READ IT. YOU WILL LOVE IT.
(Today – 6/23/3009) As we all know by now, Jodi Picoult is not a one hit wonder author. Her name is well known for her incredible writing skills and her way of taking a hot topic and putting a twist on it so you see the whole thing from a different view point. In my book, she is a must read.
I will add an update to this post after I have seen the movie. I have seen the previews, which brought it all back, and they made me cry…. can’t wait to see what the movie does to me.