I had never heard of the book before the movie came out. In all honesty I never wanted to see the movie because it sounded sad. I ended up seeing the movie and I was content with it. It wasn’t until last spring one of my sorority sisters told me I should read the book. I gave in – it did take me about four months to finish it because life gets in the way.
My Sister’s Keeper was written by Jodi Picoult and published by Atria in 2004. I am a firm believer in the idea that the book is always better. With this book it is true. The movie follows the book closely with each character telling their part of the story – both past and present – just like the book.
The book follows Anna Fitzgerald, test tube baby turned donor child for her older sister Kate who is dying from a rare form of leukemia. Kate is constantly having complications from the disease, in which Anna gets poked and prodded to help her sister stay alive. When Kate starts going into liver failure, her parents tell Anna that she is going to have to donate one of her kidneys to her sister. By this point Anna has had enough time having operations that could make her sick or possibly lead to death – and she’s only thirteen years old. Anna takes it into her own hands and gets a lawyer, Campbell Alexander, to file a medical emancipation from her parents – she wanted to help her sister, but she wanted to be able to make that decision, not her parents.
Picoult has a way with characters – you feel connected to every character regardless of their part in the story. By the time it came down to the hearing for medical emancipation, I wanted everyone to win and live happily ever after, but of course that’s not how authors think or write.
Stop reading if you want to read the book!
SPOILER ALERT the endings in the book and movie are different. The book had me accepting the idea of Kate dying of the cancer and Anna winning medical emancipation from her parents. But that’s not how it ends exactly. Kate’s tired of fighting. Anna wins the case. After signing the papers, Anna and her lawyer, Campbell, are on the way to the hospital to see Kate and the rest of the family, but they end up in a car accident leaving the courthouse. Anna’s father, Brian, is a firefighter and is first on the scene not knowing who was in the car – Anna and Campbell. Both are immediately taken to the hospital where Campbell is fixed up for his broken bones and Anna is pronounced brain-dead. Campbell, being Anna’s medical power of attorney, donates her organs to which Kate receives the kidney. Kate survives the operations and goes into remission for many years. She grows up and falls in love and teaches dance to children.
The ending was not what I expected. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book and the ending had me catching my breath. I couldn’t believe that it happened. I would recommend the book to anyone. The movie is good, but the book was better.