Love to Read

Books I've recently read & enjoyed. Please add your own lists, as we book addicts are always on the lookout for books we haven't heard about...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Read 7/10-12

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult:  If you loved The Lovely Bones pick this up immediately!  This book is going on my top 10 list.  Absolutely wonderful.

 

This is an emotionally wrenching yet uplifting the story of a 13 y/o girl (Anna) who is conceived after her sister Kate is diagnosed with a deadly form of leukemia.  Anna is genetically designed to be a perfect match for her sister.  She’s born to be a donor, starting with stem cells from her umbilical cord.  The family’s life revolves around Kate’s illness, leaving the oldest Jesse, to move into an apartment over the garage and live the life every teen dreams of – smoking, drinking and basically ignored by his parents.

 

The story begins when Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation as Kate is suffering from kidney failure and needs a transplant. Anna finds a lawyer, with plenty of issues of his own, to represent her.  The Judge assigns her a “guardian ad litem, who will be Anna’s advocate.  The story is told in alternating chapters from each of the characters’ point of view.

 

The range of emotions the various characters demonstrate from self-pity to terror to rage, from loneliness to fear to love are realistic and heartbreaking.  The twist at the end will leave you breathless.

 

I’ve never read Jodi Picoult before, I’m going to try her back catalog immediately.

 

 

The Madman’s Tale – John Katzenbach:  This story of a murder in an institution is told by one of the patients that experienced the events.  He decides to tell the story and begins writing it on the white walls of his apartment.  The book moves between present day, as his obsession with telling the story leads to a decline in his mental health; to the events that happened 20 years earlier when he was involuntarily committed by his parents to Western State Hospital.

 

This is a mystery with the added twist of being set in a mental hospital, where reality is as flimsy as a hospital gown.  The administration believes the patient the police arrested has committed the crime and gives little credence to the investigator from the D.A. who arrives on the trail of an apparent serial killer.  The investigator, a beautiful young woman with a mysterious scar across her face, enlists Francis Petrol, the narrator, and Peter an ex-firefighter who is being evaluated at Western.

 

We get to know several of the patients that Francis befriends while he attempts to navigate the strange world of the mental hospital.  Francis sees the loneliness and sadness inside many of these patients, and indeed these emotions are a part of him as well.

 

Very enjoyable!

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