Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books (Washington Square Press)
Page Total: 500 pages
Date Read: August 12th, 2010
Genre(s): Realistic Fiction; Young Adult
Reviewed by Ginny
In my first memory, I am three years old and I am trying to kill my sister. Sometimes the recollection is so clear I can remember the itch of the pillowcase under my hand, the sharp point of her nose pressing into my palm.
I know it'd sound cliche if I said "It was a very good book". I mean, we often say that, right? Even I say that quite often after reading a four-stars-worthy book.
But this one, it was beyond 'very good'. While reading the end of the book, tears were streaming down my cheeks uncontrollably. I, Ginny, have never cried, really sobbed, while reading a book. It's completely new to me.
The basic story line is pretty simple: Anna's older sister Kate has been sick for 14 years(She's 16 now). Because Kate needed a matched donor to fight off her illness -which is leukemia, if you are interested-, and because the only sibling she had(her older brother Jesse) didn't match, her parents planned to conceive a child genetically perfectly matched to Kate's.
That's why Anna was born, and she has been a donor for Kate for 13 years now. She's given her beloved sister her blood, her bone-marrow(is it spelled correctly?), and other things I can't remember what they were called.
Now, Kate is in need of a kidney, because her own kidney isn't working anymore. But Anna is tired of being a donor, being at hospital for weeks, being not able to do what she wants, being not able to be free. So she files a lawsuit against her parents.
What had grabbed me was the plot. It sure sounded interesting. I could relate to Anna, I mean, who would be willingly be a lifelong donor, even if that means to save your sister? What made me mad and therefore made it easier to understand Anna, was that her parents neglected her, because they were so busy with Kate and her illness. That they didn't even ask her to donate her blood or whatever it was needed. That her mother thought, even after they became aware of the lawsuit, she could fix things without going to the court. But she won't even listen to her youngest daughter!
But that's when the great part of the book kicks in. The author Jodi Picoult shifts perspectives - between Anna, her mother, her father, even her brother, her attorney and Julia, the guardian ad litem.(Kate takes care of the epilogue, it's really touching.) That way, you get to read not only what Anna thinks and what she feels, but also what her parents thought and why they acted the way they did. How desperate they were.
Plus, not everything is the way it seems... Anna didn't file a lawsuit just because she was tired of donating her organs to Kate. That's not the only reason. I won't spoil anything, but I was caught by surprise.
Quotes (It was really hard to pick good quotes from this book, because if I'm being honest about picking good quotes, I'd have to recite at least the half of this book.):
Kate wipes her eyes and looks up at me[Anna]. "You do realize that you're the only friend I've got?"
"That's not true," I immediately reply, but we both know I'm lying. Kate has spent too much time out of organized school to find a group she fits into.
"I'm not your friend," I say, yanking the curtain back into place. "I'm your sister." And doing a damn lousy job at that, I think. I push my face into the shower spray, so that she cannot tell I'm crying, too. Suddenly, the curtain whips aside, leaving me totally bare.
"That's what I wanted to talk about," Kate says. "If you don't want to be my sister anymore, that's one thing. But I don't think I could stand to lose you as a friend."
She pulls the curtain back into place, and the steam rises around me. A moment later I hear the door open and close, and the knife-slice of cold air that comes on its heels.
I can't stand the thought of losing her, either.
In the English language there are orphans and widows, but there is no word for the parent who loses a child.