Book Club: My Sister’s Keeper

Does anyone else find fall the perfect time to read? The weather is just crisp enough not to feel guilty about curling up indoors under a cozy blanket with a good book. Personally, I prefer an evening spent on my front porch wearing baggy sweats with a glass of wine half-watching the joggers running by as I click through the pages of my Kindle. This is why I finished this month’s Book Club read (and my last bottle of wine…) so quickly. Well, the fall, the wine, and the fact that it was a fantastic novel, that is.

My Sister’s Keeper had me riveted from the get go. I was drawn to the heartbreaking tragedy and emotional yet medical plot. Jodi Picoult’s complex story of two sisters whose fate was tied so closely together had me teary-eyed wishing I could put the book down but also left me unable to do so.

The novel tells the story of the Fitzgerald family. Kate, the oldest the Fitzgerald sisters is diagnosed with leukemia at a young age. Unable to find a matching donor for Kate, her parents discover a solution. They conceive a genetically designed child, Anna, the perfect match for Kate’s blood and organ needs. So, although perfectly healthy, Anna, like Kate, spends her life in and out of medical facilities being poked and prodded as somewhat of a science experiment.

At age 13, The Fitzgerald parents decide that Anna will donate a kidney to her sister, a life-saving necessity. But, Anna isn’t so keen on the plan. She files a lawsuit for the rights to her own body. Her decision could prove fatal for Kate.

Picoult tells the story with a series of narratives from each character’s point of view, adding to the moral complexity of the topic. The reader gets the perspective of a broken and grieving father, a confused teen, and an emotionally stretched mother. My Sister’s Keeper is an emotional journey for the reader as well. Picoult carefully crafts characters that can be somehow sympathized with and sometimes hated simultaneously.

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Giving insight into the personal and emotional complexities of chronic illness and its resulting inter-personal fall-out, My Sister’s Keeper is a must read for nurse practitioners. Just make sure you have some tissues handy.

What did you think of My Sister’s Keeper? Have you seen the movie? If so, how does it compare to the book?


Join the ThriveAP Book Club in reading next month’s pick The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus. I think the read will offer some interesting insights and background into the current Ebola outbreak in Africa and its arrival in the U.S.


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