A short while ago, I was asked what my favourite 3 books ever were...because i've read so many books of differing genres I found this a difficult one...until I read this. Without doubt it's my number 1 book so far.
Following the harrowing and heart-breaking family life of Sara and Brian, whose son Jesse is a tearaway, daughter Kate has been diagnosed with terminal leukaemia and youngest daughter Anna - conceived through IVF to be a genetic match for her dying sister - has had enough. Since the second Anna was born she's donated blood, bone marrow and more to her sister without being consulted and the final straw is the assumption that she'll give up a kidney to Kate as a last grasp at saving her life. Anna's a teenage girl who's always lived in her sister's shadow, decides to take her parents to court, for the rights to her own body.
Each chapter is written from a different perspective, which adds to the depth and complexity of this book. One moment I was sympathising with Anna and feeling shock at her mother's apparent callousness and biased love. The next, I found myself crying at Sara's love for her daughters and her feelings of utter helplessness in such a desperate situation. Each viewpoint shows a different angle to this awful dilemma and gives the novel the fullness and credibility it needed to do it justice.
This is a contentious issue and always will be, and Picoult has depicted the harrowing decisions and predicaments faced by families like this with great sensitivity.
I usually, once engrossed in a book, fly through the pages in a bid to reach the end. However, with this, it was so beautifully written I lingered over every word. Picoult's descriptive prose invokes such potent images and there are snippets in here, so simple in their metaphors or similes, that made me stop and think about my life and how fortunate I really am.
I went into this with no expectations - I read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebould and anticipated a torrent of tears which never actually came. Well they did with this - I found myself completely moved by this beautifully written book.
Not only is the storyline gripping - right to the last page - but the prose is quality. Not a book to read if you're after a barrel of laughs (although I did chuckle at the lawyer sometimes! There is humour in dark places, after all) but a thought-provoking, heart-breaking, truly wonderful novel.