Anna Fitzgerald was conceived by her parents through in-vitro fertilisation in order to be a perfect bone marrow match for her sister Kate, who has leukaemia. All of her life she has never questioned this role, until now. We gain insight into how and why she makes the decision to sue her parents for the right of medical emancipation, or in plain English, to have the right to decide whether or not to go through with any medical procedures. In this case, Anna feels that she cannot donate her kidney to Kate, as this continues into the long line of countless surgeries that she had no choice but to go through. She has never been really listened to by her parents, which is how we are introduced to Campbell Alexander, a somewhat selfish lawyer, who Anna turns to in order to be heard by her loved ones.
My Sister’s Keeper is told from multiple viewpoints – by not only Anna, but by each member of her family, her lawyer, and even by her guardian ad litem, Julia, appointed to Anna by the court. Author Jodi Picoult clearly wishes us to have an unbiased view of everyone involved, in order to establish why, for example, her parents conceived Anna, and to show how everyone is affected by this petition for medical emancipation. We learn how hard a decision this is for Anna, as this jeopardises her sister’s life, whom she loves so much. This emphasises the tragedy of the situation, to which few of us could truly understand. However this book does raise some interesting questions: Is it ethical and morally right for a parent to save one child’s life by sacrificing another’s rights? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you?
My Sister’s Keeper is an inspirational story, with elements of sadness, courtroom drama, and even bits of romance and laughter to spice things up a little. Although a tear-jerker, it is definitely worth reading, as it even allows ourselves to question our own values when the going gets really tough.