My Sister’s Keeper

I read the book (in 3 days). I watched the movie (more times than I can count). And I’m torn.

For only the second time in my life (the first being The Notebook), I like the movie just as much as the book.

I have never been a fan of books turned into movies. There is just no way that the film writers can pack 400+ pages into a 90 minute movie. Key moments and characters are often left out, which can only lead to disappointment from the true fans. Harry Potter and Twilight (let it be known that I cannot stand the movies, though I love the books) are perfect examples of this.

But I think I’ve finally figured out how to like both the book and the movie: read the book AFTER you watch the movie. This may not be practical considering the book has to exist before it can be turned into a movie… But I stand by my statement.

My Sister’s Keeper, the novel, by Jodi Picoult was originally released in 2004 and has continued to earn recognition over the years, especially with the adaptation into film.

The story, if you don’t already know, is about a 13-year-old girl named Anna who was genetically designed and conceived to be a donor for her sister, Kate, who suffers from APL, a rare form of leukemia. Anna’s blood, bone marrow and countless other donations are the only things that have kept Kate alive past age 3. But when Kate goes into renal failure and needs a kidney, Anna finally stands up for herself and files a lawsuit requesting medical emancipation from her parents. This decision threatens to tear her family apart, but inevitably brings them closer together.

Picoult’s writing style and captivating plot line keep the reader involved and wanting more, page after page after page. She delves into the lives of everyone surrounding Kate and shows the reader many different forms of grief and acceptance and determination. She explores what it means to be a good person. And she shows the reader that the right thing is not always the moral, ethical, legal, or easy thing.

The movie version truly captures the emotional impact of the family’s legal and medical battles and will likely bring you to tears.  However, that does not mean that the movie version stuck close to the original story. Quite the contrary actually – a whole secondary plot line is missing, including a key character. And, without giving too much away, the ending is entirely different.

Despite it’s shortcomings, however, the movie is a winner. It will tear at your heart exactly as the novel does.

If I had to suggest only one, though, the book or the movie – the answer is easy: Read the book. It’s more than worth the extra time.


~ by Jamilyn Mohr on June 24, 2010.

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