- Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

by Jodi Picoult

An Excerpt

Chapter One: Anna
When I was little, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but why. The mechanics I understood -- my older brother Jesse had filled me in -- although at the time I was sure he'd heard half of it wrong. Other kids my age were busy looking up the words penis and vagina in the classroom dictionary when the teacher had her back turned, but I paid attention to different details. Like why some mothers only had one child, while other families seemed to multiply before your eyes. Or how the new girl in school, Sedona, told anyone who'd listen that she was named for the place where her parents were vacationing when they made her ("Good thing they weren't staying in Jersey City," my father used to say).

Now that I am thirteen, these distinctions are only more complicated: the eighth-grader who dropped out of school because she got into trouble; a neighbor who got herself pregnant in the hopes it would keep her husband from filing for divorce. I'm telling you, if aliens landed on earth today and took a good hard look at why babies get born, they'd conclude that most people have children by accident, or because they drink too much on a certain night, or because birth control isn't one hundred percent, or for a thousand other reasons that really aren't very flattering.

On the other hand, I was born for a very specific purpose. I wasn't the result of a cheap bottle of wine or a full moon or the heat of the moment. I was born because a scientist managed to hook up my mother's eggs and my father's sperm to create a specific combination of precious genetic material. In fact, when Jesse told me how babies get made and I, the great disbeliever, decided to ask my parents the truth, I got more than I bargained for. They sat me down and told me all the usual stuff, of course -- but they also explained that they chose little embryonic me, specifically, because I could save my sister, Kate. "We loved you even more," my mother made sure to say, "because we knew what exactly we were getting."

It made me wonder, though, what would have happened if Kate had been healthy. Chances are, I'd still be floating up in Heaven or wherever, waiting to be attached to a body to spend some time on Earth. Certainly I would not be part of this family. See, unlike the rest of the free world, I didn't get here by accident. And if your parents have you for a reason, then that reason better exist. Because once it's gone, so are you.

Are you hooked?

I have always thought that this book is by far one of the many good books I've read. I've never read one fiction that is as good as it is, because it talks about one situation from more than five different perspectives without making the story boring and stale. In addition to that, each of the main character grows and you can see how each character is changed.

I do not have the patience to write a proper review for this book on this blog, but well, you'd better be sure that although I am no professional book reviewer, I do select books to read, and I do not simply recommend books to read.

Some of the reviews:

"[A] tense, high-concept piece of women's fiction in the tradition of Anna Quindlen and Rosellen Brown." - Entertainment Weekly

"Has the emotional tenacity to fuel tears and talk." - Daily News (New York)

"Full of insight, inspiration, and heartbreak... Picoult's handling of the central issue is flawless." - San Jose Mercury News

It's worth your time. Trust me. =)


jeannie said...

Hey! I have this book! Got it from a book sale in Happy Mansion. I love the story although I don't really like the way it is written. Don't blame the author. Maybe the author just want to let the readers see the whole story from the eyes of the different characters and let them decide for themselves who's right and who's wrong. Hmmm...interesting isn't it?

Crystabel said...

Jodi is an excellent writer. and she used her legal background to the max. Have you tried her other books like 19 minutes? I thought it has a little bit of the Virginia-Tech-massacre shadow. Her books are awesome, a fresh style distinct from the mundane romance novel. I'm excited for the movie to come out though. I hope it lives up to the expectation the book has created.