My-Sisters-KeeperApril 2013

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life…..even if that means infringing on the rights of another? Is it ethical to produce designer babies? These are questions which are bound to stimulate a good discussion and they certainly did that at our book group meeting. Whether we liked the book or not it did give us food for thought.

Picoult’s novels are all very relevant as they deal with moral debates that are part of the national dialogue. In this case Anna, a genetically engineered baby, was conceived as a bone marrow match for her sister Kate – a life and a role that she has never questioned …until now. In order to fulfil this role she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions and shots so that Kate can fight the leukaemia that has plagued her since childhood. Like most teenagers Anna is beginning to question who she really is which means examining her support of her sister’s life. This brings her to a decision that tears the family apart.

Most of us found the book a page-turner (if somewhat long) but the contents disturbing. How realistic was the mother whose obsession with keeping her daughter alive had alienated her son, subjected her other daughter’s life to one of secondary significance and given family life one single objective? The big disappointment, however, was the end. After all the narrative around moral dilemmas, the ending can only be described as a ‘cop out’!

We meet again on Thursday 16 May to discuss Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

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