Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Dear Jodi Picoult: please give the font changes between chapters a rest, it makes your books tiring to read. Thank you.
Otherwise, this book was entertaining, thought-provoking, and engaging, and I would have given three stars or maybe even four, until the ending, which made me so furious that I wanted to throw the book out the window. And I was on an airplane at the time.
The story of a family with a terminally ill child -- their daughter Kate has leukemia, and based on hints dropped by their doctor, they decide to have another child who is genetically engineered to be a perfect donor match. Initially, the plan is only to use the baby's umbilical cord blood to generate stem cells for Kate. But as Kate's condition deteriorates, the donor child, Anna, is asked to give more and more. The story opens as Anna, age 13, files for medical emancipation so that her parents can't compel her to donate a kidney to Kate. As the case and the family's story unfolds, Picoult raises all kinds of complicated issues about medical intervention, the rights of children to refuse medical treatment, whether parents are capable of making unbiased decisions about their children's health, etc. Eventually we discover that Anna is not the only one tired of constant medical intervention, which throws everything we thought we knew about the family into disarray, and I was really looking forward to seeing how Picoult resolved it.
Instead, in an infuriating deus ex machina move, Anna is rendered brain dead by a car accident within hours of receiving her medical emancipation. Kate gets a new kidney and, naturally, makes a miraculous recovery. This turn of events not only robs Anna of her opportunity to finally make her own choice, it also robs *Kate* of her choice to refuse any further treatment. It's almost as though Picoult saw the implications of the themes she was exploring, couldn't face them, and made a U-turn at the last minute.
It was so frustrating that I think this is likely the last book by Jodi Picoult I will ever read. Anyone else read it, and have a similarly strong reaction? Does she do this kind of thing in every book, or just the two I managed to finish?