Friday, January 30, 2009

Paige Turner

My niece, Paige, gave me a book for Christmas. She is a senior in high school and it was a book she had read in her English class. She loved it and because she loved it, I was very, very happy to receive the gift from her.
The problem was that it was a book by Jodi Picoult. Now, I don’t mean to be a book snob, certainly I have read some lousy books in my lifetime, and if we’re being honest, I’ve even bought a book or two at Target. But if you ever wander through the library in that store, you’ll find that Jodi Picoult has an entire aisle to herself! It’s true! It’s right across from the Harlequin Romances, which is why I have resisted any urges I may have had to read one of her books. But I wanted to read this one since it was a gift from my niece. And since I read mostly on the Metro, I covered the book with a cheesy, ill-fitting red book cover which gave the illusion that I was actually reading the Bible instead of a Jodi Picoult paperback. Not that I haven’t been called a Jesus Freak in the past, but with all the chortling and weeping I was doing, I was just a highlighter away from appearing a real fanatic!
Truth be told, however, My Sister’s Keeper is a pretty good book. For the most part. It’s one of those the-Chicken-or-the-Egg stories that really makes you think. It is the story of a child who was “created” by her parents for the purpose of saving her dying sister’s life and raises a lot of controversial issues along the way. It asks the deeper questions of life like how long you should keep fighting for something before you simply say, “Enough is enough”, and I was more than happy to battle away with myself to find the answers.
I am reminded of a scene in City of Angels where the doctor, played by Meg Ryan, sits on the stairway after losing a patient and wonders, when she is fighting for someone’s life ... WHO is she fighting?

Sometimes I feel like an author is tap-tapping away on her laptop developing some great characters and amazing story lines when all of a sudden she looks at the clock on the wall and says, “Crap! I gotta wrap this thing up!” While I did get a bit of that toward the end of this book, I was so busy balancing my little moral scale I didn’t even see Jodi coming at me with a baseball bat!
Ummmm ... ouch!
But the first of the two cheap shots she took was almost bearable. I quickly got back to my moral balancing act and was (although it sucked and it hurt and it made me cry) able to get through it. But the second shot, the unforgivable shot, came in the cute little wrap-it-up section of a book they like to call the Epilogue.
I wish I hadn’t read the epilogue. Sometimes I get so involved with the characters of a book, I simply can’t let them go. Hell, I’m still getting daily visits from Frank and Mamah and that was like 6 books ago. I don’t know how an author can create and mold a beautiful character and then give her a colossal slap across the face when she’s finished with her. I don’t get that. But, that is the very reason I will never read another Jodi Picoult book.


Leigh said...

I LOL at the end of this! Funny. I had a book I was going to reccomend. I don't read books often but Joseph and I read it together when I was pregnant with Iz. I will have to ask him. I will have ot tell you how I started reading it in an email so I don't hog you entire blog section. :)

Anonymous said...

Paige is going to be so sad that you don't care for this author! She loves her books and left another here for you to read.


Anonymous said...

"just a highlighter away from appearing a real fanatic"...that line just made me piss my pants!

Anonymous said...

mom, i didnt leave it there for her. i left if because i didnt have room to bring it back here with me.

and its fine. i dont mind.

bev said...

I love Jodi and have gone out of my way to go to her book signings. Guess you could say I am a groupie. Sorry. Although "My Sister's Keeper" wasn't my favorite she has written some interesting stuff. Jodi is famous for exploring issues like abuse, suicide, mercy killing, etc. My favorite was "Mercy". Depressing shite! Sorry you didn't like her. Now, what will you do if Jodi comes to this post and makes a comment? LOL Tell you niece that she can share her thoughts on any of Jodi's books with me.

Becca said...

For the record, I do not dislike Jodi Picoult! When I write about a book I've read, I try not to give away too much of the story. I simply write about how I felt while reading. I do not dislike Jodi Picoult or this book. I said I DID like it. I liked that it made me think!
I am sorry that Robin & Paige took this so personally that now Paige is taking back gifts ... so sad.
I will explain myself now, though, because obviously people are getting the impression that I "don't care for" Jodi Picoult or this book and that is simply not true. The only thing I did not like was the end, and out of respect for the author and other readers, I didn't want to give that away!
The entire story revolves around Anna and her existence. She was "created" to save her sister's life and we questioned for the entirety of the book, the very value of Anna's life. Anna felt like she was invisible, she only existed to save Kate's life. And, sadly, it didn't seem to be working.
When Anna was killed in the end, I was upset and sad and angry, but I could live with that irony. In a way, I thought perhaps it was the best option. Anna could donate her vital organ to Kate without being forced to do so. Anna wouldn't have to struggle with making that decision... she wouldn't have to feel guilty if she didn't donate or guilty if she did donate and it didn't save her sister. I could deal with all of that.
What I didn't like was the epilogue when Kate told us that she survived beyond everyone's wildest expectations, but NOT because of the ultimate sacrifice that Anna had made, because of some experimental treatment they tried Kate BEFORE Anna died. To me, that just felt like the author said, "You were right, Anna, you were invisible." Like everything that she fought for and believed in was all one big moot point. That little bit of irony was just too much for my taste. And I felt like the author betrayed a character she seemingly created out of love and compassion only to render the character useless in the end. Because of the author's willingness to do that to her own character, I just don't know how much I would want to invest in another of her books.

Leigh said...

Blog Drama! Love it! LOL