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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

My Sister's Keeper - Review

(Image taken from Amazon.co.uk)

Every time when I step into a book store or a book fair, I don't used to go to the fiction section which is usually stuffed with vampires, werewolves, romance or puppy love (ok this is only a stereotype). After scanning through the book shelves, I used to shrug and walk away because there are too many books there and I don't want to try my luck to see whether I can luckily land my finger on a good one. It had been a long period of time I last read a novel. As far as I know, I had finished the Harry Potter series, Eragon series, Twilight series (don't judge, I think that the storylines are good and I enjoy all four books) and some others that I do not quite remember during my high school time. Compared to my other friends, I feel quite ashamed for claiming that I love reading...

I just found that there was a TV series based on this novel in 2009 and there will be a movie in 2015! It was such a coincidence that I found out about this book at the right time before things get hot (it might be as hot as The Fault in Our Stars!) and I didn't get to know about it in a book store. Three days ago me and my family visited my granduncle's family. Instead of sitting mundanely watching my attention-seeking cousins messing around the house, I saw this novel lying on the sofa. So I picked it up and started to read the first page then immediately plunged into addiction. The novel revolves around Anna, a perfectly healthy teenage. But one of the main elements in the story line is Leukemia, a white blood cell cancer. When I tell someone that I feel like crying when reading the novel, people will assume that it is about a child dying from cancer. Actually it's not.

Spoiler Alert! Highly advisable that you guys to read the novel first!

So Anna is suing her parents for not giving her choices to decide whether she is willing to donate a kidney to her elder sister, Kate who was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, a rare type of blood cancer when she was very young. The fact is, the reason of Anna's existence in this world at the very beginning was to save her sister, using the umbilical cord blood because Anna was a genetically programmed embryo so that her DNA matches her sister's, in order to supply something that might keep her sister alive. Up to this point, I was already furious about what her parents did to her as if the sole purpose of her birth is to ensure the survival of the other. The only thing that her mother concerns is Kate, even her brother, Jesse is quite being left aside that he causes lots of troubles. The novel is written in first persons' points of view of different characters. Anna, Jesse, Sara (mother), Brian (father), Campbell (lawyer), Julia (guardian ad litem) and finally Kate. So it is fair. We can see the whole situation in all perspectives (this makes me hate Sara even more, ugh).

Apart from the main storyline, we have this relationship issue between Campbell and Julia which re-sparks after many years of separation. Campbell is just so gorgeous because of his humour (now guys you know that it is very important to be humorous because it makes girls fall in love without having to see your face before that, hahaha) and his efforts in fighting for Anna's case although Anna does not have the ability to pay even for his consultancy. Ah and his service dog who alarms him of his Grand Mal Seizure, a very unpleasant medical condition. When it comes to relationship, he is such an asshole who leaves Julia behind after having sex with her, twice in fifteen years although deep down he loves her. On the other hand, Julia did not recover from the scar Campbell left in her heart during high school time, too. And I am happy for this bitter sweet sub-storyline of this novel that they get together in the end.

Ok back to the main thing. I see there are lots of struggles going on in the head of a thirteen-year-old girl. If I were her, I would be torn apart too if I have to make such decision. To save my sister (by going through painful procedures of drawing blood and marrow that you don't have to undergo if you do not have the obligation to save your sister) or to save my own ass and have a normal life any teenage girl would have. However, the truth revealed in the end turns out to be it was Kate's opinion that she does not want Anna's kidney, that she does not want to continue living in such condition, that she wants Anna to have the life she wants. This makes my heart softened towards Kate (I still dislike Sara, though). The ending of this novel was unexpected. I thought Kate would die and Anna lives happily ever after. But Campbell and Anna are involved in a road accident which snatches Anna's life after she wins the lawsuit. Although Campbell survives with his dog, Anna dies from brain death. Thus her kidney is given to Kate. The roller coaster finally came to a halt, at the very bottom of the track (after lots of ups).

I am not saying that we shouldn't save our sibling whose life is in danger and you are the only one who can save her. But life on Anna is harsh, isn't it? It becomes an obligation to sacrifice yourself for someone else because he or she is your family that you are expected to react in the way family should react. And when you don't, people will be like 'what the hell??? you let him/her die just because you don't want to do it anymore???'. Tragedy sucks, being part of the tragedy is not any better, either. Ah I am just so emotional after finished reading the novel. I was cheering for Anna and Campbell throughout the storyline, hahaha. It is a worth-read to me, hope that I can find other heart-catching novels to read before the new semester starts in one month time.

P/S: I guess I won't watch the movie because usually the movie will not be as good as the novel. Just like what happened to The Fault in Our Stars, according to my friends.

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