My Sister’s Keeper – Written by Jodi Picoult
I’m not the biggest fan of Jodi Picoult. Her novels do “get you” in an emotional sense, but they all seem to end in a court room and lots of tears. I also have found repeat phrases in several of her novels, which is a red flag for most readers. Recycling work is never a smart move and, as a writer myself, I do not appreciate the lack of creativity. However, I did find My Sister’s Keeper to be very successful and interesting in a number of ways.
Generally, I avoid reading novels that are intentionally depressing. Cancer stories seem to fall into this category and, having lost loved ones to the terrible disease, it is not something I enjoy exploring creatively unless there is some deeper meaning. Picoult’s use of underlying messages and subplots helped My Sister’s Keeper avoid this “depressing story” stereotype. While the novel is essentially centered around Anna Fitzgerald and her medical emancipation, each character has their own story. I love the romantic undertones and relationships: Kate and Taylor, Campbell and Julia, and Sarah and Brian. Although no character, with the exception of Anna, truly convince the reader of their story, I did find the development of My Sister’s Keeper to be satisfying.
The sublimely tragic ending leaves every reader in shock. There is no predictability of this coming, to which I give credit to Picoult as surprising your reader can often be difficult to do. I’m not a fan of epilogues, and Kate’s section did relatively nothing for me. I would have liked to see Sarah and Brian’s reflections rather than the surviving sister but, nevertheless, My Sister’s Keeper left you thinking about the characters, their story, and the tragedy of it all.
“My Sister’s Keeper” – Directed by Nick Cassavetes
I had a number of issues with this movie. First of all, the type-casting. With a story as delicate as “My Sister’s Keeper,” using high-paid actors to pull in viewers is just not a good idea. The novel had great critical reception and was a movie a lot of people wanted to see, so using major celebrities like Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin can only set up a mook for failure. Rather than using household names for the characters, I would have liked to see unknowns fill these roles.
My second annoyance towards “My Sister’s Keeper” was the genuine disregard for the story Picoult had created. Why was Anna and Campbell’s relationship severely unexplored? Where is Julia Romano’s character? What happened to the Brian-Jesse-Fire subplot? Although I did really enjoy how the movie expanded on the romance between Kate and Taylor, there was so much more than was left out. Aside from a few hard-hitting moments (ie: Cameron Diaz shaving her head for Kate) the movie barely scratched the emotional surface that the book did.
Last, but in no way least, the ending. What an incredible dissapointment! I could not believe Picoult even allowed the director to alter the ending in the way that they did. I have heard that this major plot change was against Picoult’s wishes, but it ruined the integrity of the novel and made it just any old depressing, cancer story. Everything about “My Sister’s Keeper” that made it unique and different dissolved in the hands of Hollywood. I left the movie feeling genuinely angry and regretting I had paid $11.50 to watch the film. To be honest, this mook goes down as one of the worst in history. Shame on you, Nick Cassavetes!
Mook Rating – ★