February online ebook club wrap-up

my sisters keeperThis month’s online ebook club selection was Jodi Picoult’s My sister’s keeper. I really enjoyed this novel. It’s the first Picoult book I’ve read. For those of you that don’t know the story:

A couple find out that their daughter Kate has Leukemia when she is quite young. They conceive another daughter, Anna, as a bone marrow match for Kate. Anna grows up suffering through blood transfusions and transplants until she seeks medical emancipation from her parents after she is asked to donate her kidney. Without the kidney, Kate will die. This legal action tears the family apart and brings to the surface, a lot of ethical issues that they have never faced before.

Now for the discussion questions I posted at the beginning of the month:

Do you think Sara and Brian were justified in their actions? Could you sympathise with either one of them? Justified? No. Could I sympathise? Yes.  At first glance Sara and Brian seem like the parents from hell. Honestly, who would do something so unethical? I think when you love a child so much you’ll do anything to protect them, even when it means going to extreme measures. When they first made the decision to conceive Anna, I can only assume it was a desperate act. While at times I detested both of them throughout the novel, especially Sara, it was apparent that they did in fact love Anna like a parent would love a child. That’s the impression I got. Did anyone think differently?

Do you think Anna’s decision in the book was the right one? This was tricky. I think Anna’s decision to seek medical emancipation from her parents was the right one. Her body was being used in ways that would risk her own health and it totally violated her rights as a child. Whether she should have donated her kidney or not is another question. If it was my sister I think I would donate a kidney because we have that family bond but at the same time I wouldn’t necessarily judge anyone that wouldn’t. In light of the ending (which I don’t plan on spoiling here), yes I think her decision was the right one.

The movie has a completely different ending from the book. Which did you prefer? Truth be told I haven’t seen the movie but I know the ending. I think I would have preferred the movie ending only because the book’s ending was so shocking and depressing and I like to be a little happy at the end of a book. In saying that I think the book still had a very powerful ending and it was a complete tear-jerker.

The book has suffered some criticism for having a great premise and poor execution. Do you agree with this? Not entirely. I don’t think the book  is designed to be a great work of literary merit. It is designed to appeal to a wide audience and make us question a great ethical scenario. I do think the ending wrapped the story up a little too neatly and circumvented one of the big ethical dilemma’s  – should Anna donate her kidney to save her sister’s life? I was a little disappointed by this but apart from that, I think it was well-executed.

Overall, what would you rate the book on a scale of 1 to 5? I’d give this a 4. It was a great book that got me thinking, but wasn’t one of the best books I’d ever read. I would still highly recommend it.

What did you think?

Do you agree or disagree with me?

Is there another book you’ve read this month that you’d like to recommend?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.