One of the most debated topics in modern society is the idea and application of eugenics, or the desire to create the “perfect” human specimen. Is it morally acceptable for a parent to pick and chose what genes they want their child to have? And what if, instead of choosing a certain eye color or sex, they decide to have a child who is a perfect genetic match for their already existing ill daughter? Does the end always justify the means or is there a certain point where a line needs to be drawn? In her novel “My Sister's Keeper,” Jodi Picoult explores this controversial concept of scientifically creating a child to be a perfect match for a sick older sibling.
“My Sister's Keeper,” is essentially a story about choices, or rather having the right to make them for oneself. One of the main characters, Anna, is a 13 year old girl who was conceived by her parents for the sole purpose of providing viable donation blood and tissue for her older sister, Kate, who suffers from a rare form of cancer. Anna is subjected to countless procedures for the benefit of her sister, until one day she takes a stand and decides to enlist the help of a lawyer to help her get control of her own body. Meanwhile, her sister is getting progressively more ill and on the brink of death while the court proceedings drag out. Will Anna be able to reconcile her decision to stop donating parts of herself to her sister or will it completely destroy her and her family?
This novel was very intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, the story is so gripping and intense, it is hard to put it down. Secondly, the writing style is magnetic and beautiful with each character narrating various chapters. The narratives of Anna and her mother are particularly heart breaking. They are on opposite sides of the issue, but the reader is able to easily identify with each of them, and all the other characters, leaving the reader with the ultimate question; “what would I do if it were me?”
Recommended for anyone who enjoys family-centered fiction or stories that portray an individual's struggle with real world issues.
Title: My Sister's Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2005