Saturday, 18 July 2009
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
But if you had a child with a dangerous illness, and you could choose the genetic makeup of a new baby so the blood from its umbilical cord could save her, would you do it?
Oh, that’s a tough one
The trouble for Anna Fitzgerald, the little girl in My Sister’s Keeper, is that it didn’t stop at that first donation. For years her parents have used her as a replacement parts factory for her sister - blood, bone marrow - and now they insist that she donates a kidney.
What, without asking her?
She’s a kid - by definition, her parents are the ones who decide what’s right for her. Until she asks a lawyer to sue them for the right to her own body.
Sounds fair enough
Yeah, but her sister Kate is very sick now; unless she gets one of Anna’s kidneys, she’ll die. And Sara, the girls’ mother, is absolutely focused on getting Kate better.
Sounds like one of those conundrums from religious education class
Unfortunately, that’s a bit how it’s written. Picoult generally takes an ethical problem and plays it out with stock characters - heroic people in tough circumstances, a troubled teen - and she’s done that here.
‘Now a major film’, it says on the cover?
Starring Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin; in cinemas now. The novel has more twirly bits - the lawyer has a service dog and there’s a whole subplot involving him; Anna is a hockey star in the book and losing a kidney will stop her playing, and so on.
I sense a certain muted withdrawal?
The book badly needs an operation to cut away some flab. It could have been really good if the writer had co-operated with a brilliant editor to sharpen and tighten it.
So I could skip this one?
It’s a grand beach read, and Picoult is a good writer. But it’s not her very best. Go to the picture instead. Oh, wait - it only gets 44% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer. Hmm.