My Sister's Keeepr
by Jodi Picoult
Simon & Schuster 2004
I went to see the movie yesterday afternoon. And I purchased the book off a book shelf at the same time. So I hadn't read the book when the movie ended.
I brought the book because on her website, Jodi says that the ending of the movie was different from the ending in the book.
Having now read the book and seen the movie, I understand why they changed the ending, and I actually do prefer the movie ending rather than the book ending. There were a number of other changes as well.
I dont want to spoil the movie for you so I will try not to put any spoilers in this review.
In the book you have the Fitzgerald family living in Rhode Island, In the movie they are living in California. The family consists of Brian Fitzgerald, a firefighter, his wife Sarah, who used to be a lawyer but has been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for the last 12 years. Their children are from oldest to youngest - son Jesse, and daughters Kate and Anna.
When Kate was 2 years old she was diagnosed with APL (acute promyelocytic leukemia). Her older brother Jesse was not a match for her. Neither were the parents. They were unable to donate any blood or bone marrow.
So Sarah decided to have another baby who was a perfect genetic match. This baby was named Anna and she is the main character of the book (and movie). Anne was a testtube baby - one of 4 embryo's who were genetically manipulated to have all the proteins required to be a perfect match to Kate.
Anna's cord blood was donated to Kate right after she was born, in the hopes that this might stop the disease. It did but only for 5 years. From then on Anna is subjected to more and more procedures just to help Kate stay alive.
The life span of an APL patient is usually 5 to 6 years. Sarah was desperate to save Kate, so she had Anna. Every time Kate was hospitalised, Anna was forced to drop whatever she was doing, and rush to the hospital to have contribute more blood or bone marrow to Kate. All the attention was on Kate. Anna was only in the lime light when she was required to donate more blood or bone marrow. Jesse is ignored altogether.
At age 14, Kate's body start shutting down. First her kidneys. Anna is told by Sarah, that of course Anna will donate a kidney. Anna revolts, hires a lawyer and demands medical emancipation from her parents. She takes her parents to court. She wants to stop being forced to be a donor, even if this means Kate will die.
There are several other major things that are in the book but not in the movie. One is the court appointed guardian for Anna which is not mentioned at all in the movie. The second is Jesse's activities. While Jesse is seen out by himself in the city, his activities are not shown.
The movie was powerful enough without the guardian or Jesse's activities. I really wanted to call Cameron Diaz (who plays Sarah) a bitch for spending all her time on ONE child at the expense of the other two kids. No parents should be like that. However I know that Cameron is just acting. She was so believable.
Also in the book the judge who is deciding the court case is a man. In the movie the judge is a woman. And in the movie, Kate gets to go to the beach. In the book she does not.
As to the ending, well one sister does die. You have to see the movie and read the book to find out which.