My Sisters Keeper By Jodi Picoult

My Sisters Keeper the novel - A heart breaking story that will have you asking, what would I do in that situation? It tackles some hard hitting moral dilemmas that will have your book club debating for hours!

Our book club doesn't usually go for main stream books and to be fair, we read this before the film launched.

It is certainly a book that will make you think and wonder what you would do in the same situation.

In fact one lady with two young daughters in our group, found it to be a terribly uncomfortable read.

Worth adding to your list. Or, why not have a lighter book club night and get everyone to read the book AND watch the movie. You can then discuss the two.

The Plot / Story

My Sisters Keeper Jodi Picoult

Kate and Anna are sisters but have a relationship like no other.

Anna was born specifically to help Kate survive Leukemia, by donating blood, bone marrow and more.

The latest request is for Anna to give a kidney to Kate. It is possible that Kate will not survive the operation and Anna could have serious complications if left with only one kidney.

Anna is now 13 and asks a lawyer, Alexander Campbell, to help her be able to make her own decisions regarding her health - a petition for medical emancipation.

Her mother, Sara,  is a lawyer and her father, Brian,  is a fire fighter. Sara decides to represent herself and husband and fight against Kate's petition.

The strain this puts on the family is immense. Anna has to move out and goes to live with Brian at the Fire Station.

Meanwhile Kate and Anna's brother, Jess, is up to attention seeking activities. He enjoys starting fires and taking drugs. Brian eventually finds out and Jess does reform by the end of the book.

Another sub plot develops between the court appointed guardian for Anna,  Julia Romano and Alexander Campbell her lawyer. It turns out that they were very much in love back in the day, but that he walked out on her when he discovered he had epilepsy (he always has a guide dog with him in court). He thought she deserved better. All is revealed when he has an attack in court.

There is a fairly major twist in the plot (please don't read the rest of this if you don't want to know....)

Where we discover that it is in fact Kate who has asked Anna to file for the petition. She doesn't want to have another operation. She's had enough.

Another twist occurs at the end. Anna does win her court case but is killed in a car crash on her way home from the court. She is pronounced brain dead, so her kidney is donated to Kate.

Kate goes onto live at least 6 years more - she is in remission at the end of the book and we hope she goes on to live many more years.

The ending is very different in the movie. Kate dies in her sleep once the family finally accept that Kate wants to die.


For My Sisters Keeper

Moral Dilemmas - What's Right and What's Wrong?

The definition by wikipedia for a dilemma "is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable."

Throughout the book we can see both sides of the argument. Anna should have the right to say no to donating her kidney. But if she does say no, Kate will probably die.

It is this dilemma that makes the book work so well, particularly as it is told from each of the different narrators points of view. As the reader, you flip from agreeing with one side but also agreeing to the other side's argument

Family Relationships

There is lots to discuss under this theme. Clearly the closeness of the two sisters is a critical part of the book and permeates the pages.

Jesse is a troubled soul and craves attention from his father in particular. His fire burning and drug taking behaviour are a cry for help.

The pain that both Brian and Sara have to live through every day is frightening. Any parent reading this book, will find it hard to even imagine what their lives must be like. The financial nightmare is hard enough to comprehend never mind the thought of losing a daughter.


Alexander Campbell holds a secret about why he has a dog. Anna holds a secret as to why she wants to win this law suit. Jesse is setting old buildings on fire and causing wasted man hours for the fire brigade.

It certainly keeps the book interesting, with the reader waiting with anticipation to find the answers. But what it also shows is that what you see, is not always what you get. The characters hide behind their persona's, either to protect themselves, or the people they love.

Book Club Questions?

For My Sisters Keeper

Would you have had a second child if you thought it could save your first child?

Would you have fought Anna's court case if you were Sara?

There are many narrators in this book. Does this work? Why or why not?

Given Kate's age, is she capable of making her own decisions and wanting to die? Should it be her parent's decision?

What is the relevance of fire in My Sisters Keeper (consider also the poem at the beginning of the book)

Movie And Book Discussion Questions:

The ending in the movie V's the book is very different. Which ending do you prefer? Is there a better ending?

What do you think of the actors that played the main parts in My Sisters Keeper? Did you imagine them differently? Any in particular?

Many parts of the book don't make the film. Would you have liked to have seen more of Jesse's story? More of Alexander Campbell and Julia Romano?

The addition of the sex scene - was this a good addition?


For My Sisters Keeper Book Review

Gosh this book caused some heated debate! A great choice for any book club, despite this being a mainstream title. Whilst the book itself got a 6.5/10 from a a literary point of view, it would have scored 9/10 for discussion.

Whilst the writing is hardly Satre, Dickens or Austen, it is still an easy read and a real page turner.

The different narrators work really well, making you change your mind and opinions time and time again.

The ending in both the film and the book were very disappointing, It feels like there is so much build up with  the court case, yet Picoult wimps out, unable to actually make a decision one way or the other.

The film is actually really well done, despite some key themes being missed entirely. Cameron Diaz as Sara is brilliant. Have heaps of tissues at the ready - I don't remember the last time I cried throughout an entire movie!

My Sisters Keeper - Strictly one for the girls this one!

Top of My Sisters Keeper

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