- Anna, the sister who brings a lawsuit against her parents, claiming the right to her make own decision about what medical procedures can be performed on her.
- Jesse, the prodigal brother, whose drug taking and criminal tendencies throw a wrench and add conflict to the family's growing list of problems.
- Kate, the sister who is diagnosed, in her youth, with a severe form of leukemia
- The parents, Brian and Sara, who have a baby, Anna, who is genetically selected to be a close donor match for Kate.
- At birth and ongoing into her early teens, Anna is called upon to undergo increasingly protruding and dangerous procedures to provide blood, bone marrow, and other tissues to sustain her older sister's life.
- A kidney is needed.
- Anna's mother Sara, an attorney, decides to represent her own daughter Kate at the trial.
- The mysterious attorney hired by Anna comes with a host of his own problems.
- Sara's obsession with saving her daughter.
- Brian's quiet desperation for his family and hidden feelings that he can't delude about his wife.
- Kate's pain and lack of communication.
I liked how the narrative switched around each character giving you a clear sense of the time period and what each family member was dealing with. Very interesting. Even Anna's lawyer and of the legal guardian appointed were included on many levels. It's hard to forget large portions of Sara's narrative which included flashbacks on the history of Kate's illness. It was sensitive in dealing with Anna's role in gaining medical support and it was arresting in the shadow of the constant toll and evolving of Kate's pain on the family.
As I've learned a little about Picoult as an author, I found she likes to be controversial and that includes her endings. So, of course, I never saw it coming and I don't really think I liked it either. Time will tell the true impact of it as in whether I choose to forget or remember this story.
So far, I haven't had the desire to see the movie.
432 pages, April 2004, My rating: 2.5 stars
Other reviews or mentions for this book:
Diane (the saddest reads)
iDaydream (book/movie review)