Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Deliciously Thoughtful Book

A few of my loyal (crazy? insane?) readers asked what book I was referring to in my post yesterday. Before I reveal it, let me explain a few things first. I'll admit it. I am a literary fluff, escapist, entertainment reader. That is what I call books that are purely entertainment value. Sure they might teach you a lesson or two, but for the most part, they are just to tell a great story. I spend most of my time reading entertainment, escapist, or literary fluff, mainly because that is what I am looking for in a book - a break from reality. So when I list my favorite authors or favorite books, they usually fall in one of those categories. For some strange reason, people think that because I teach English, I must read classics or the great literature all the time. I do enjoy that too. I love a good classic, a thought provoking book, nonfiction, history books, and so many others. But I love the fluff. I guess I tell you this so you don't expect great book recommendations from me all the time. :) I do, however, try to read at least one thought provoking or other kind of book every few weeks. This book falls in that category.

Ok, so the book is (drum roll here) . . . My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. (I tried putting up a pic, but Blogger is being dumb and won't do it). A description on Amazon.com describes the book this way:

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

I didn't know what to expect from this book. I keep a list of books recommended from others. Somebody mentions liking a book and I write it down. So when I went to the library last time, this was on my list and I checked it out. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I do. I find myself thinking of it during down moments at work, or while I'm giving Camden a bath. I wonder what is going to happen next. Being a person who does not deal well with surprises, I've already read the end, but now I want to see how we get to that ending.

It also raises so many questions in my mind. The parents go through in-vitro to conceive the best genetic match for their daughter Kate, who has leukemia. Anna is the result. Anna then undergoes many procedures for the benefit of her sister. Is it fair to create a child for this reason? Is it fair to keep using this child again and again? What is fair to the sick sister? I've pondered these questions, and many others, and haven't come to any conclusions.

If you have read this book, share your thoughts with me. And if you read it at a later date, come back and share your thoughts. And today, share with me the book that has been a thought provoking one for you.


Dawnyel said...

This book was not so much thought provoking as I had never thought about it this way before...I, too, LOVE the fluff stuff, so the latest read that has me thinking is A TIME TO DANCE, by Anita Stansfield. It too deals with leukemia, but it shows the parent's point of view in a VERY LDS environment. Most of her books just make me happy and are just fluff, but this one totally put me out of commission for days while I was reading it.
The blurb about that book your reading makes me want to read that one too. :) Thanks for the tip!

Carbon said...

That does look like a good book! Another to put on my list of reads :)

Melzie said...

My book of thought was "SECRETS" (I think, my mom has it still at her house). She bought it for me in college... it was hard for me to read- but good as well... helped me personally. Though- I do enjoy good LDS fluff. :)

Kristen said...

Wow. I haven't read it. It does sound like a controversial topic. It sounds kind of sad. I usually like to read frivilous stuff, too, because my whole life is thought provoking. I need me some fluff when I read. I just read a book by Tami Hoag called "Kill the Messenger". I love a good mystery, suspense, murder mystery. I also like Stephen King and Dean Koontz a lot.

Lee said...

That sounds like a great book. I need some new ones to read!

Anonymous said...

I really liked this. Simultaneously kind of "fluff" (or, I guess, for me, just non academic) reading, but also really well-composed, thought provoking, and, at its end, so sad.

emlouisa said...

Interesting. Never heard of it but I may have to check it out!

Lisa M. said...

I haven't read it, but I too will have to keep a look out for it.

I wondered about "Secrets" too.

I think that book should be manditory reading for any preisthood leadership postion holder.

;) just a thought.

Thanks for divulging your secret with us!


Diana Mancuso said...

Wow, that sounds like a very thought provoking book. I have to be in a special mood to read about controversial topics like that. But I'm writing that one down on my list. Thanks, Rachelle!

Anonymous said...

I LOVED My Sister's Keeper. Not so much for the writing, which was okay but somewhat lackluster, but because Picoult knows how to tell one heck of a story, with a fascinating plot, edge-of-the-seat conflict, and characters you can identify with. Every time I decided what I thought the outcome should be, something new happened, or I heard from a different character, and suddenly everything changed again. It was fascinating, and although I read it months ago I can still remember so much of it. Glad to see you liked it, too.

As for people expecting you to read great works of literature all the time because you're an English major & English teacher, I've encountered that a number of times, too, and have explained it the way you did. People watch TV to escape; why not use a book the same way?

Colleen Pidge said...

I'm going to read this book. I love reading and am always on the look out for something else to read. (side note: I found your blog on an unrelated search, but had to laugh at how close our blog titles are!)

Tigersue said...

I'm not sure I have read anything thought provoking in a few years, I have a hard time concentrating like I should. For fluff, I like Lynn Kurland, and I love Katherine Kurtz, her Deryni books only, I don't care for any others that she writes.
Someone mentioned a Time to Dance, I didn't like it very much, but I did like A Timeless Waltz. I have a hard time with Anita Stansfield because of the "money" issue always being a rescue. Maybe it is her way to focus on the story, but it frustrates me when realy people have to deal with real life at the same time as trials.
Right now the best I read is Jane Austin, and The Chosen. I love to read so it is sad my limit has gone down.

Lynanne said...

Oh wow, that sounds like an awesome book. I'm going to look it up next time I'm at the library. Thanks for the tip! I needed some adult books to read (that sounds bad...I don't mean 'Adult' books.) Lately I've been reading my son's books because I haven't been able to find any of my own. Rereading the Narnia series was okay, but I think I took it too far when I started ordering books on Amazon for my son just so I could read them (hoping I'd open the box and get to read them first) LOL

Elozia Marie said...

I have wanted to read this book for a while - thank you for reminding me! I'm excited to find some of the other books mentioned in the comments as well - I'm a sucker for a good book!

Melodee said...

I loved that book.