My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – Book Review
How Far Would You Go?
How far, as a mother, would you go to save your child’s life? That is the question I was left with after reading My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Meet the Fitzgeralds, a family with an interesting dynamic. Jesse, the oldest, is starving for attention from his parents and looks for it in not-so-healthy ways. The dad, is a firefighter so, in order to get his attention, Jesse becomes an arsonist. The reason that Jesse is so starved for attention is the middle child, Kate, who is dying by inches from a rare form of leukemia but has far outlived all life expectancy predictions. Their world revolves around her and her illness. And then there is Anna, the youngest. After no-one in the family was a genetic match for Kate and after learning that treatments for this form of leukemia consisted of bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, harvests of leukocytes, etc., Sara, the mother convinces the father, to conceive Anna through a method called’ Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis” who would be a perfect genetic match to Kate and thus be available for any and all treatments that Kate would need. This is how Anna came to be born. No secret was really made of the fact that her sole purpose for living was to be a donor for her sister. Many, many needle sticks and bone marrow harvests later, which keep her sister alive, Anna puts her foot down. You see, Kate’s kidneys are failing and the parents want Anna to donate one of her kidneys. That’s the last straw for 13 year old Anna and she consults a lawyer to become ‘medically emancipated’ from her parents and thus be able to decide from here on in what happens to her body. A significant tug-of-war plays out here in young Anna’s mind. If she wins the lawsuit and becomes medically emancipated and doesn’t donate one of her kidneys, Kate could die. If she does donate one of her kidneys, medical complications ensue, as well as the risks from surgery.
It is an interesting emotional pathway that each of these characters journey on to the final and unexpected conclusion.
So what do you think – Did Sara “Play God” in conceiving Anna?