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Merle

Merle

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult If there is one thing to commend Jodi Picoult on, it's this: she has a talent for finding new, original, and provocative subjects on which to base books. The premise here is that a 13-year-old girl, whose transplants keep her older sister alive, is suing for the right to her body to avoid being forced by her parents into donating a kidney. Sounds pretty interesting, right? And I'll give it to her, Picoult does a good job of delving into the psyches of every member of the family--it's a difficult situation, and nobody is black and white.

However, as far as the quality of the book, it's not good. It starts off well, but goes downhill as the story progresses, culminating in a trial full of gag-inducing melodrama. Also, Picoult's choice to use multiple narrators for this novel was a poor one, especially in the case of the males, who don't sound at all like real men. To try to distinguish the individual characters' voices, she resorts to cheap tricks, such as Brian's over-reliance on hackneyed celestial metaphors. In the meanwhile, the relationship between Campbell and Julia (neither of them members of the family in question) is distracting and is more wish-fulfillment fantasy than realistic. And the treatment of Jesse, the older brother, is simplistic and annoying.

Picoult is clearly a bestselling author, but of the "cheap popular fiction" variety. For solid characterization or literary style, look elsewhere.