‘My Sister’s Keeper’ tells the tale of Anna Fitzgerald, a 13 year old girl who is fed up being used as a donor for her older sister Kate and decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Anna was engineered to be an exact match for her sister to try to save her from leukaemia.
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and injections to help her sister, Kate, fight leukaemia. Anna was born for this purpose, her parents tell her, which is why they love her even more.
But now she can’t help but wonder what her life would be like if it weren’t tied to her sister’s…and so she makes a decision that for most, at any age, would be too difficult to bear, and sues her parents for the rights to her own body.
Before I read it, I’d heard great things about Jodi Picoult’s book ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. And in reading it, I wasn’t disappointed. It was gripping and compulsive reading and I was shocked and distraught by the ending. One of the most distressing things in the book I found, was the story of Jesse, the son and brother in the family, completely ignored, a shadow on the edge of a heartbroken family, left out and desperately unhappy.
But I read the book over two years ago. So when a friend suggested we go see the movie, I remembered having been riveted by the book and agreed to go. Four of us went in the end, two had read it, two had not. The movie itself is a simplified and stripped down version of the book. They had to take away a lot to get it into the ninety or so minutes that it lasts but I think they might have over simplified it. The ending in the movie is different to that in the book and apparently the author was none too happy with the change. However, having sold the rights to the book she had no say in the change but she did have this to say on her website:
Yes, I know the ending is different. Yes, I know some of you are very upset. I didn’t change it. The author has no control over the movie, and it was hard for me to accept too. However, there’s a great deal in the movie that I think is great, and I enjoyed watching it – and I hope you did too. Please don’t email me asking me why I changed the ending, or “let” Hollywood do that – it wasn’t something I had any control over.
She also includes a link for readers to Tell Warner Bros what YOU think which leads to the comments page on the official movie website.
My friends who hadn’t read the book thought it was great. One of them cried for almost the whole ninety minutes, pretty much from the start. It was a complete snot and tear fest. It is a hard one to watch, especially for someone with children of their own, Kate being constantly sick and very close to death for much of the film. Admittedly I cried even though I knew the story, the two who hadn’t read the book were inconsolable and the other friend managed not to cry at all. Just. I’d never watch it again and I’d recommend not paying a tenner to go and cry for ninety minutes. Spend the money on buying the book, an all together more rounded story 🙂
An interesting fact is that the Fanning sisters, Dakota and Elle were set to play the parts of Anna and Kate and there are even some graphics for the movie with them floating about the interweb…but it all ended when Dakota heard she’d have to shave her head for the movie!