Tag: Jodi Picoult

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

May 16th, 2014 — 11:19pm

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My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – This was the second Jodi Picolt novel which I had the pleasure of reading. The first was The Storyteller, which was about the granddaughter of a holocaust survivor who finds herself friends with a former Nazi Concentration Camp guard who killed many prisoners in the same camp where her grandmother was imprisoned. The elderly ill Nazi asks the grown granddaughter to hasten his death. Picoult obviously has the ability to extract the ethical issues which can go to the heart and soul of our humanity. In My Sister’s Keeper a child develops a potentially fatal disease, which is unresponsive to various treatments. Blood transfusions, bone marrow transplant and ultimately a kidney transplant would be necessary to keep her alive. Things look bad for survival, as treatment options appear to be running out. The parents and brother don’t have the right “match” to be useful and a search for the right donor seems futile. However, it is possible for anther sibling, not yet conceived, to be the right match especially if there are genetic manipulation performed which would choose the right embryo – a type of carefully selected artificial insemination using the biological parents. It works out great and the parents see the stem cells from the umbilical cord of the newly born child, which would normally be thrown away being transferred to their ill daughter. On subsequent occasions when there is a relapse, there can be blood transfusions from the younger sister. Even a bone marrow transplant would be life saving.

The majority of the book takes place after Anna the younger sister now 13, has decided to visit an attorney, Campbell Chance and request that she be allowed to make her own decisions on what part of her body is given to her sister. In other words, she wants to be medically emancipated. The author gets into the head of each character as each chapter is written in the voice of one the important players in this real life drama. Katie is the older sister who has been sick most of her life and yet feels close to younger sister who is now resisting giving her what she needs to live. Jesse is the brother who in response to the emotional turmoil in the family becomes a juvenile delighquent and somewhat of a pyromaniac. Brian is the father who happens to be a brave fireman and a caring, loving father to all three of his children. Sara is the mother who clearly would do anything to save her daughter. She happens to be an attorney and it seemed natural to her that when there was going to be a trial to determine if the younger daughter is to be free to make her own decision, she will defend the parent’s point of view that they can make the decisions for Anna. Campbell is the attorney who Anna has chosen to represent her. It turns out that his personal story informs us of another aspect of the dilemma as do the the feelings and experience of Julie, the woman who is chosen by the court to be the guardian ad litem for Anna By providing us with riveting insight into each of these people, the reader is swept up as if we are living through this painful scenario.

Life of course is filled with potential heartaches, which we all must experience, but to varying degrees and at different times Even though we know about the disappointments of life, illness and death that may be around the corner, rarely are there things that we have never heard about. The situation of expecting one child to dedicate and perhaps risk her life to possibly save the life and maintain the well being of a sibling is quite unique. While not exactly the same, it reminds me of Sophie’s Choice. Should the author give us a happy ending or any ending in fact, is an interesting question. Ms. Picoult certainly did not shy away by leaving the ending to our imagination, which a lesser author may have done. We are challenged to think through the horns of this ethical dilemma. We make choices in our mind but we are able to see the where they are going in this story and perhaps in the future with modern technology.

Comment » | FG - Fiction General, FL - Fiction Legal, M - Medical

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

May 9th, 2013 — 10:41pm

The StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – After reading this book I reflected on where did I learn the details about the Holocaust? It wasn’t in any formal class that I took in public school or in college. It may have been in Hebrew School prior to my Bar Mitavah. It was in very general terms from members of my family none of whom that I knew of was a survivor or closely related to one.  It was enhanced by books I read and movies I saw such as The Diary of Ann Frank, Schindler’s List, Sophie’s Choice plus so many more as well as some more contemporary movies that have recently emerged (and we have reviewed elsewhere)  such as No Place on EarthIn DarknessIron CrossFour Seasons Lodge. However, nothing is more informative and  powerful than a well written novel such as this one in which it’s authenticity is based on the author’s research and a well written thoughtfully honed scenario. while, I didn’t learn any new facts or any basic history that I did not know, I am glad to be reminded and stimulated by this book. I also am glad that this best selling novel will be available to  our younger generations from teens up who can learn about what happened on the ground and in the concentration camps. All that being said and in addition to this being the authors 5th book on the NY Times #1 slot for best selling book, the story raises some very challenging ethical questions. Sage, the main character, is a young woman who works as a baker in a bakery in a New England town. She meets a 93 year old widow who is a well known retired school teacher with a reputation as a very kind old man. However, he has a secret which he confides to Sage and that is that 65 years ago he was a SS officers in a Nazi concentration camp. Sage’s elderly grandmother is a survivor of the holocaust who was in that concentration camp who has a hidden story to tell. She also since childhood has been a writer or storyteller. Her fantasized  stories which are weaved throughout the book are allegories and philosophical explorations of the human psyche and ethical dilemmas  that the characters in the real story are considering  Our ex- Nazi after befriending Sage and telling her his story in some detail asks Sage to help him end his life. As part of this wish is his other wish to be  forgiven. As readers one step and nearly 70 years removed we can ponder what the right thing is to do. Who can forgive but the victims but they have been  murdered and most of the survivors are gone. What about the value of the US government hunting even these elderly Nazis and deporting them? Package this all in a page turner or a button pusher (on my Kindle) and you have a great book.

Comment » | FH - Fiction Historical

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