Back in the fall of last year, I read this book by Jodi Picoult. Published in 2004, it is a novel but the author says it was inspired by a case she learned about during her research. It touched me deeply.

I was captivated by the story line of this novel. When young, Kate is diagnosed with a severe form of leukemia. To help Kate, her parents decide to have another baby, Anna. That child is genetically engineered to be her older sister’s donor.

From her birth, Anna undergoes serious and invasive procedures to provide cord blood cells, bone marrow and other tissues to save her sister. When a kidney is needed, thirteen-year-old Anna hires a lawyer to sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about medical procedures.

Her mother, Sara, is an attorney and decides to represent her daughter, Kate, at the trial. The ending will surprise the reader.

This book addresses the fine line between what is legal and what is ethical. The author has done extensive research into the science of eugenics and all that it implies.

I won’t share the ending in case you want to read it for yourself or watch the movie, starring Cameron Diaz.

Both are well worth your time.

June Poucher (Feb. ‘15) adds: “I identified strongly with this story because my slightly older sister was frail with a leaky heart valve. I understood from a very young age that I was supposed to take care of her. I loved her with all my heart and would have done anything for her.”

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