#43- My Sister's Keeper
I read this book for the first time going into my freshman year of high school, it was one of the required summer reading books and so naturally I felt unsure about the interest level of the book. In general up to this point school assigned books hadn't impressed me. This book is where that all changed.
I remember vividly sitting outside in my backyard on one of my lounge chairs, crying silently as I finished the last chapter of this book. For the entire day the book lingered with me and I felt completely moved by the entire thing for weeks after while thinking about the paper I needed to write for class. I guess you could say that this was the book that really changed my love of reading, I was now more inclined to read things with more difficult story lines and characters.
My Sister's Keeper is a book following the different point of view of an entire family, who are all dealing with moral and ethical dilemmas when it comes to the life of those that they love.
Anna, who was born as a perfect donor for her sister and since the day of birth has spent her entire life being "her sister's keeper". She never found this to be a problem, until one day when her parents tell her that she must donate a kidney to Kate. While its a completely selfless and rewarding act, Anna doesn't want to do it. She wants to be able to play hockey and continue about being a normal 13 year old girl. Her parents may have forgotten this, but she hasn't been sick an entire day of her life yet she's spent most of it in the hospital for countless pin pricks and bone marrow retrievals and surgeries and shots.
Kate, who at a young age was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and from that day forward spent her entire growing up process in and out of hospitals. As the middle child of the family, she has never felt the middle child syndrome due to the fact that her mothers entire life revolves around keeping her happy and healthy. She feels some guilt that her younger sister is never able to live the life that she deserves due to the fact that Kate has cancer.
Sara, the mother of the girls, who spends her life dealing with the internal dilemma of keeping both of her daughters alive and happy.
Brian, the father of the girls, works as a firefighter. He is somewhat conflicted throughout the novel feeling that he is being unfair to his youngest daughter by expecting her to always be around and healthy for Kate, but also not wanting to tell Anna that she doesn't have to do this because he wants Kate to live.
Then there's Jesse, he is the eldest brother of the three children and due to the fact that he has nothing to do with the illness has always kind of fell into the shadows of the other children. Throughout the book we are shown his internal distress over always been overlooked.
The book's main plot point is that Anna doesn't want to give Kate this kidney, she feels that since she is 13 and wants to live the rest of her life as she pleases the best way to do this would be to go to court to fight for medical emancipation. The book follows the court case and the emotional and physical turmoil that everyone in the family goes through during it. With emotions and words that will stick with you for a long time after reading the book, My Sister's Keeper is completely deserving of being on the top 100 list.