Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The novel My Sister's Keeper consists of flashbacks told in the point of view from several different characters depending on the chapter. The protagonist, Anna, is not the sick child of the family but because she has been hospitalized so many times herself she could be. From the minute Anna was born, she has undergone surgeries for her sister Kate who has Leukemia. Kate called herself a "designer baby" because she was specifically created to be a match for her sister.
She has not challenged her role in the family to help Kate until now. The novel begins with Anna gathering her money to go see a lawyer, Campbell Alexander. One of the top in the country. She wants to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Her mother, Sara, used to be a lawyer before Kate got sick and was totally taken by surprise. She would do anything to keep Kate alive. The lawsuit created a wedge and tension between the family. It was enough that Anna went to stay with her father at the fire station for a time. In the novel, some different effects of Kate being sick are shown through their brother Jesse. He sometimes feels forgotten about and has turned to other means to release his emotions.
As the book progresses, the characters begin to develop and the reader sees their true selves through the struggle to maintain peace in the household. Kate becomes even more sick because her kidneys are failing. If she is to survive she will need a kidney transplant. Anna refuses to give hers up. She wants to be able to live her own life and play sports like hockey. She doesn't want to worry about being healthy for surgeries. As the lawsuit approaches the tension continues to climb. Until the true story is revealed there. I can not tell you anything more, so I do not ruin the ending for you.

1. If you were in Anna's position how would you feel?

2. At what point for you does everything just become too much for you to handle that you take drastic measures just like Anna did?

23 comments:

Kyle N.1-2 said...

1. I don't know how I'd feel. Having a twin, I feel some loyalty to him. I'm sure I would sacrifice parts of me to keep him alive...but it's different in Anna's case. She was simply born to be a donor. I would not want that for myself, let alone anyone.

2. It comes to the point where I start having to worry about my own health being at serious risk. I would donate some, but I wouldn't do it to the point where I am paralyzed myself

Tyler W 1-2 said...

If i was Anna, i would not appreciate being used like that. I would take action like Anna did even if i loved my sister because Anna should not have to risk her life.

Nicole H. 7-8 said...

I agree. Even though I love my sibling, I have a say in what to do with my life, and if it was at risk, I would feel the need to do something about it.

Ashley B. 1-2 said...

I agree. It was not right of Anna's parents to assume she agreed with every surgery and to use her like that.

Freddy B. 7-8 said...

1. Being born only to be a donor would make me feel like I needed to be my own person. If I was asked to give an organ to my sister I probably would, but all of my life should not be dedicated to her.

Sarah N. 7-8 said...

I think that in most cases people would give up an organ (if possible) to save a life of a sibling. However, as many mentioned it is not right to be solely born for that purpose. If I was Anna I think that I would be angry, in a way, that I have to sacrifice so much. I do not know where the balance is between wanting to live your own life and trying to save someone you love (even if they may not live).

Abby M. 1-2 said...

1. If I were Anna I would definately feel unloved and used. I would also feel hopeless because there would be no way I could win. If I gave up my kidneys I would be submitting to my parents and continuing to loose my identity but if I gave them up Iould be haunted with guilt that i could have saved my sister.

Renae G. 1-2 said...

1. I agree with Abby. If I was in Anna's position I would feel used and I would feel like a "nobody". I think it was wrong of her parents to do that to Anna.

Ashlyn W. 7-8 said...

1. I would also feel unloved and used, like Abby said. But also I would think that I would like to help my sibling.

Ashley B. 1-2 said...

It seems like there is a fine line between wanting to be yourself and saving her sister in this book

Sydney S. 1-2 said...

1. I agree with everyone else on this question. If I were Anna, I would feel hurt. While I would want to help my sister, being born strictly for that purpose would make me feel unwanted and unloved.

2. In Anna's situation, the point would probably come similar to when Anna's did. I would want to help my sister, however, I wouldn't want to ruin myself health-wise. In the end though, I think I would help out my sister.

Lindsay S. 7-8 said...

I agree, if I was in Anna's position i would feel used and disrespected. I wouldnt feel like an important part of a real family.

Morgan O 7-8 said...

I would feel torn between doing what was right for me and doing what was right for my sister. Though a kidney transplant would not be harmful to my life it would still hold me back from doing things i wanted to do for a very long time. I wouldn't know how to feel because I loved my sister and wanted her to live, yet while I was existing only to help her live I would feel used, violated, and unappreciated because all of this was expected of me, not asked of me.

Madi Y 7-8 said...

I think if I was in Anna's shoes I would feel less important than my sister. The only attention she was getting was the attention about her giving her kidney to her sister. She too was a young girl with so much life to live, she just wanted to be a child. Not have to worry about kidney transplants for other people. She really did love her sister though, but wanted to respect her secret wishes.

Sydney M 7-8 said...

1. If I was Anna, I would feel completely used. I feel like it would be an unloving parent to child relationship. The parents only concern was to use Anna to save Kate. They never thought about Anna's future. Anna's life was neglected because of Kate's problems.

Jacob C. 1-2 said...

1. I would feel terrible. I wouldn't have anything to live for really. All I would feel like is a storage cabinet for other people to take things out of.

2. I think just after I've had so many surgeries I would eventually just no longer put up with it.

Avi D. 7/8 said...

1. I would not really mind it at first but as Kyle N. pointed out, once you find that you were conceived for the sole purpose of being a donor, it changes everything. There is no love in the relationship anymore.

Mia G. 1-2 said...

1. id be pissy that my parents expected me to give up my body parts, but bro, your kidneys grow back. id totally give them up.

2. i dont really understand what drastic measures that your talking about. for the life of my sister id soo do anything. but not at the cost of myown, and not if my sisters quality of life is going to decrease to poop.

Sarah H 1-2 said...

If I were in Anna's place I would feel used sometimes and I can see where she is coming from. I would feel unimportant.

Raechel B. 7-8 said...

1. If I was in Annas's place I would feel used. I would not want to know that the only reason I was alive was to help my sister. I would want to live my life the way I wanted and would not want to be pushed into anything I did not want to do.

2. After all of the surgeries I would be done. I would be just as unhealthy as Kate and that is just not fair.

Hannah J. 7-8 said...

1. i Would probably feel bad for my sister, and i would help her in anyway i could. but when that starts to dictate how i live, i would probably resist.
2.its the point when i dont have a purpose other than to destroy myself for my sister and to help her have a chance of living and i wont be able to live because i gave everything away

Anna W. 1-2 said...

1. Anna's position is really a tough situation. If I were in Anna's position I would feel really upset about how I was created only to save my sister from her cancer, all though it comes with great rewards of helping and sharing a bond with your sister, but comes with a great price. In the end I think I would help her for as long as possible, but still feel cheated as a child on the inside.

2. I believe that it would be to much to handle when it comes to the operations and treatment affecting your quality of life and future when I would take drastic mesaures such as Anna. Also, another important thing for me to remember when taking the action would be the prognosis of the treatment on my sister. If the treatments were no longer effective and she had a low chance of surviving then it would be best not to do it anymore either.

Rafiq O. 1-2 said...

1.) Anna's situation is really sad and difficult to deal with, so with that being said I would probably feel very depressed, lonely, and ultimately just scared. I'd be really hurt, emotionally, to know that my parents did something like that but at the same time I wouldn't be too angry, because of the REASON they did it. I really like this book, btw.

2.) Honestly, once I found out I would probably keep going through it. Yeah, it would suck but I, being the person I am, would give my life to help hers. Just my opinion.