Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.
One of the reasons why I wanted to read this book was because it said 'sisters' in the title. Since I have two sisters who means a lot to me, I have always loved reading about 'sisters' :). I must say that once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down. Everytime I finished a chapter, I wanted to read one more and it went on until I finished.
The story has five main characters - Brian (Father), Sara (Mother), Jesse (son), Kate (daughter with cancer), Anna (daughter who is the donor for Kate). There are two other characters Campbell (lawyer of Anna) and Julia (who is appointed as ad litem for Anna) who are equally important I must say.
In the beginning I was a bit upset with Anna for wanting to sue her parents, but as I read on I was able to empathize with her. I kept wondering what I would have done if I was in Sara's place? Would I just give up and let go of Kate or would I keep fighting as she did?? Brian is a father who may not come across as a strong person in the beginning. But I felt he was like a pillar which kept the family together in the most difficult of times. Jesse's condition was understandable and quite predictable I must say. The intriguing thing was, there was no chapter narrating Kate's perspective until the end. I wonder why. Maybe the author wanted us to think on our own and understand what she was going through. I loved the way the love story unfolded between Julia and Campbell. Campbell reminded me how foolish and scared men can be sometimes (esp of commitment ;D). Julia reminded me of a hindi movie heroine, dont know why. Her character gave us an outsider's view about the ongoings. I was absolutely shocked (in a good way) by the climax as I never expected it. I never thought that it would end that way.
I savoured every bit of the book. The best part about the book was it wasn't narrated by just one character. Instead, each character narrates the story from his/her point of view and that narration was titled with their name. This helps the reader in understanding the story better and from all aspects. (The first chapter was titled Anna and it was her narration. I thought, are we gonna read only Anna's point of view? When I moved on to the second/third chapters, I realized that this was not the case. We would be listening to every character's point of view (except for Kate's until the end). This is the first time I have come across such form of writing and I was really pleased and impressed to see that :).
There are parts which tugs your heart and completely immerses you in the book. You feel as if you are one of the family members watching them quitely from a corner. There were times when tears started rolling and you feel like going and hugging one of them. OK, dont think that this book is all weepy and all about crying. Nope, it has good amount of humour too. To sum it up, a gripping, heart wrenching story that all of you should read! Am sure you will love it! :)
Rating - 4/5
"Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it."
"But if you took every memory, every moment and stretched them out end to end, - they’d reach forever"
"If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?"
"Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them."
"I wondered what happened when you offered yourself to someone, and they opened you, only to discover you were not the gift they expected and they had to smile and nod all the same."
"The moon did her best. She carved each of these blocks of sorrow into a man or woman. She spent the rest of her time watching out so that the other stars wouldn’t fall. She spent the rest of the time holding onto what scraps she had left."
This was the first book we read at our bookclub. It was my choice (unfortuantely :D). The following review was written after our discussion at the club.
Before I get into the review, I would like to brief you about the author. The facts given below were taken from different websites.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also known as Gabo, was born in Aracataca, Colombia in the year 1928. He was raised by his maternal grandparents. As a child, he was mesmerized by stories spun by his grandmother and her sisters - a rich mix of superstitions, folk tales, and ghost stories that fired his youthful imagination. And from his grandfather, a colonel in Colombia's devastating Civil War, he learned about his country's political struggles.
When his grandfather died, Gabo was sent to live with his parents for the first time. He attended university, where he studied law in accordance with his parents' wishes. His studies were interrupted when the university was closed, and he moved back north, intending to pursue both writing and law; but before long, he quit school to pursue a career in journalism.
In 1982, García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his masterpiece ‘100 years of solitude’. His distinctive style – magical realism - an artistic genre in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal" setting. It has been widely used in relation to literature, art, and film.
Review of Love in the time of Cholera
My first choice was Audacity of hope…. by Barack Obama. However, I changed my mind thinking it could be a very heavy read right in the beginning and it would be better if we went for a fiction and something lighter. 100 years of solitude came to my mind, but being a very huge book I thought I will go for another novel written by the same author, and thus Love in the time of Cholera was chosen. I must say that it was very much a random choice. But little did I know that I had chosen a book that was very dear to some of our page turners.
When I started reading the book, I was put off by the descriptive (narrative) style of writing. Being used to reading fast paced novels, the amount of detail in LITC (love in the time of cholera) nagged me. However, since I was the one who nominated the book I kept reading. Halfway through the book, I told one of my friends not to read the book. I regret it now. We can never judge book until we have finished reading it. I have to say that the book, although not the type I usually read, has certain charm to it. It talks about love, age, death, disease in ways that has never been told before.
Three main characters of the novel are – Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza and Juvenal Urbino. Florentino Ariza falls madly in love with Fermina Daza (love at first sight I should say) and they exchange letters and telegrams for over three years. However, the moment Fermina sees him up close and personal, she rejects him saying it was all an illusion. Later, at the age of 21, she marries Juvenal Urbino a renowned physician and a very rich man. However this doesn’t deter Florentino and decides to wait for her even if till eternity. While waiting, he also tries to replace Fermina by having affairs with literally any woman he can get hold off (some six hundred of them!). After over 50 years, when Urbino passes away trying to catch a parrot (!), Florentino comes back and proposes to Fermina again. He starts writing her letters again and is able to win her this time. This is more or less what happens.
I should say that during the meetup we came really hard on the book. If Gabo were present during our discussion he would have found our views really amusing. We went round and round about ‘Love’ but were never able to decide what the word actually meant. We agreed upon one thing though - Florentino’s feelings for Fermina wasn’t love. Maybe it was in the beginning, but it turned into lust later. As one of the members pointed out – he wanted her so bad, as she was the only one he couldn’t have. It was more of a desperation and misery than love.
I have mixed feelings about the book. However, I would never tell anyone not to read the book. I would always say it’s worth reading.
Rating - 2/5