Wednesday, 13 August 2008

My Sister's Keeper: what a great read!

I just finished reading Jodi Picolut’s My Sister’s Keeper this afternoon after two-days reading it (the good side of having cold is that you are entitled to bed rest and reading novels)… and I LOVE IT! 

Now I understand why so many Picoult readers love her work; though the WW run might be an exception. And now, since I’ve read two Picoult novels (Song of a Humpback Whale and My Sister’s Keeper), I think I need to add my two cents, since I disliked Jodi’s run on WW so much (gas station, Diana not knowing how to order coffee… etc etc, though Nemesis’ comment on Diana getting bugs into her eyes while flying was pretty funny actually). It’s a matter of fair play. I didn’t like Jodi’s run on WW; most definitely not. But I love her other work, and that too, I shall admit.

So, go back to MSK. When Picoult’s WW made me winced and frowned, My Sister’s Keeper kept me from sleeping and doing anything else (thank God for the cold…). Jodi Picoult delivered such excellent narrations and characters; I fell in love with some of them almost instantly. Her trademark way of delivering novels in several voices (in this case, at least seven) had grown on me since reading her first novel (Song of a Humpback Whale; an okay one, but definitely not her best). Anna, the teenager who kept donating parts of her body to her sick sister Kate, emerged as my heroine. Campell Alexander, Anna’s attorney, became her side kick, though in reality he’s much older than her. I also feel for Anna’s father, Brian, who tried his best to be a good father, albeit difficult as it was. What I could not really decide is Sara, Anna’s mum. Sometimes I feel for her, but generally speaking, I think Sara’s decisions to make Anna donating her blood, bone marrow, etc for Kate’s health are very selfish… at least controversial. I mean, she coerced Brian to agree to have a genetically-engineered baby to save Kate’s life. Sure Kate’s life is extended long enough… but what of Anna’s freedom of choice? It is very understandable that Anna then decided to bring this matter to a family court, for she felt that her medical independence had too often been compromised.

Jodi also delivered the sadness of being admitted to the hospital several times. I was hospitalized four years ago, after going back and forth to at least half a dozen doctors, and anyone who has been (or has family members) hospitalized will know that it was not a fun experience, though it was necessary and relieving). But Jodi also threw humor here and there, a shed of hope in spite of the darkness of the story. 

Anyway, just when I thought I knew how the end would be (I cheated, I flipped through the last pages quickly) Jodi Picoult then delivered a twist (I missed that twist during flipping!). Turned out that Anna’s motive to bring her health matter to court was not about her at all. Instead, she did that for Kate. Because Kate asked her sister to end this drama once and for all.
The last chapters, I will not spoil it for you. Just in case you’re as impatient as I was, just go to the bookstore and flip through the novel. Better, buy it and read it from the beginning. It worth the price, and more. 

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ teaches me another thing too. That a great writer like Jodi Picoult could have her mistakes. In retrospective, she might be a good WW writer if she gave enough time for background research. After all, WW is not a new character to begin with. Alas, it was not good enough, and Jodi’s WW was unpleasing to most of us. Reminds me of Will Pfeifer’s excellent run on Catwoman vs his badly delivered Amazons Attack!...
I guess, some of you who said that certain writers are best kept in their favorite medium are correct after all. Jodi’s medium is novels. She’s best playing with new characters created within her amazing mind. Gail Simone on the other hand, is best with comic books and their extensions (animated version, for example). Gail is faithful with continuity, and she is also good at creating new characters (e.g. Black Alice) or excavating old and almost forgotten characters (e.g. the Stalker) in the comic media. 

I guess, in the end I will keep coming back for Gail’s Wonder Woman, and will read Jodi’s other novels, too. And hope that although Jodi’s WW run was not an excellent one, and she might have uncomfortable history with us WW fans, she will still see Diana as an excellent woman who can deliver love and wonders, and not just a ‘mere’ comical character.
My Sister’s Keeper is in the making for a movie, produced by New Line Cinema (Lord of the Rings, everyone?). Click Wikipedia here to learn more, release due is in 2009. 

Pic 1: My Sister’s Keeper, from
Pic 2: Jodi’s Wonder Woman run, from

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