My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

What a lovely book. Another Jodi Picoult book, My Sister’s Keeper was not a let down at all.

Amazon synopsis:

“A major decision about me is being made, and no ones bothered to ask the one person who most deserves it to speak her opinion.” The only reason Anna was born was to donate her cord blood cells to her older sister. And though Anna is not sick, she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since she was a child. Anna was born for this purpose, her parents tell her, which is why they love her even more. But now that she has reached an age of physical awareness, she can’t help but long for control over her own body and respite from the constant flow of her own blood seeping into her sister’s veins. And so she makes a decision that for most would be too difficult to bear, at any time and at any age. She decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body.

I had read a few reviews that stated the reader’s did not enjoy this book, or did not like the ending, but for me, I was not let down at all. This is another tough issue that Picoult has chosen to write about, and again, she has had success.

The story follows the Fitzgerald family. Jesse has gone off the rails, Kate has leukaemia and Anna was a “designer baby” created to help Kate. Controversial topics are discussed, from being an organ donor, to parents making medical decisions for their children to acting out by arson. Picoult discusses these issues so well and sensitively, I don’t think anyone could fault her.

In terms of her medical knowledge, Picoult seems to have read up and properly researched the issue of leukaemia in different forms and was not afraid to use medical language confidently. I know very little about the disease but what was written I was able to follow.

The ending was incredibly sad, but I liked it. I think it fitted with the story perfectly. I did not guess it at all, and there were other twists in the book that although I tried to guess, I didn’t get right, and again, I was not disappointed with them. I felt they just added and enhanced the story.

My favourite character was probably Jesse, the eldest child who went off the rails. I felt I connected with him to a certain level, but that might have been because we both like fire – although him more than me – and sometimes we both just feel invisible. His acting out was for attention and his sister’s illness broke him, and that really moved me.

I recommend this book strongly.

8/10

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

This is only the second of Picoult’s novels that I have read, but like Nineteen Minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Amazon synopsis:

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn’s mother, took the child’s life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide and, for the first time in her high profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep into the world of those who live ‘plain’, Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. As she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past comes back into her life.

I was completely hooked by this book from the opening page. The story is full of love, court room drama, murder and faith. I have no idea if what Picoult writes about the Amish is correct, but it certainly opened my eyes a little bit. I had a go at guessing the end, which I got wrong, but on reflection I should have seen coming. However, that does not affect the story at all. I found myself loving the characters, sympathising with them, wishing I had some of that Amish peace and thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading the book. In fact, I am still reflecting now. I was even getting angry at the prosecution in the court! I felt like I was there watching, I love a book where I feel like I’m involved. I loved the ending. Highlight to view spoiler: I had initially thought that Katie’s father did the killing, but it turned out to be her mother, who was just trying to hold onto the only child she had left. I found that just so touching. There was excitment on virtually every page. I can only highly recommend this book.

9/10