8 Nov 2011


Apologies that this is going to be a double post. To be honest though I'm on track to reach my target of reading 100 books for the 100+ Reading Challenge I'm way behind on posting my reviews. Also as both books were by JODI PICOULT and, to be honest, both were quite similar, it seemed an ideal way to do some catching up.

Now, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy both these novels, very much so in fact BUT it has to be said that they did have many, many things in common ....... a topical 'dilemma', a court case, characters you found yourself either loving or hating, I could go on.......

But first to let you know what each of the books was about.


Sara Fitzgerald's daughter Kate is just two years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Reeling with the helpless shock of it, Sara knows she will do anything - whatever it takes - to save her child.

Then the test results come back time and again to show that no one in their family is a match for Kate. If they are to find a donor for the crucial bone marrow transplant she needs, there is only one option: creating another baby, specifically designed to save her sister. For Sara, it seems the ideal solution. Not only does Kate live, but she gets a beautiful new daughter, Anna, too.

Until the moment Anna hands Sara the papers that will rock her whole world. Because, aged thirteen, Anna has decided that she doesn't want to help Kate live any more. She is suing her parents for the rights to her own body.
...... Outer back cover.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 152): "...... And if you think of a relationship as a living entity, I guess it's one thing if the missing two percent is, like, a fingernail. But when it's the heart, that's a whole different ball of wax."

Zoe Baxter has spent years trying to get pregnant, and just when she's about to get her heart's desire, tragedy destroys her world. In the aftermath of loss and divorce, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist. Working with Vanessa, she finds their relationship moving from business, to friendship, and then - to Zoe's surprise - blossoming into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of children again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that she and her husband never used.

But Max, having sought peace at the bottom of a bottle, has found redemption in an evangelical church, and Zoe needs his permission to take his unborn child.
....... Inner front cover.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 176):But I always think of a talk like this as if I'm spreading mahogany stain on a natural wood floor. Even if you wipe away the color, it's seeped in a little bit, and you can't get rid of it. Long after we leave, Zoe will still be thinking about what we've said.

Then again, putting mahogany stain on a piece of pine only changes the way it looks on the outside.

KEEP THEM OR NOT?: My Sister's Keeper was a gift and a book I shall probably be keeping, Sing You Home was a library lend that I have no intention of purchasing at this moment in time.

Both gripping and very, very emotional I must confess that though I had expected My Sister's Keeper to be more of a tear jerker I found myself more emotionally involved with the characters in Sing You Home - perhaps because the issue was slightly less controversial or maybes it was just because I identified with the characters more, either way I found myself totally caught up in the lives of Zoe, Max and Vanessa.

That said all of the characters were well written and extremely believable, what I did not expect was my reactions to some of them. 

Sara (the mother in My Sister's Keeper)I disliked with a passion that took me totally by surprise. I know the blurb on the back of the book  speaks of Sara not only getting a child who will save her other daughter(Kate)from a certain death but also (in Anna) another beautiful daughter. Now I'm afraid I just didn't get any real feeling of this and spent much of the novel struggling to understand Sara's motives rather than just disliking her as a mother who, on the whole, I felt loved daughter Anna but more as a means of keeping Kate alive.

What also surprised me was how well the male characters were written. Once again My Sister's Keeper comes to mind in that I found son and middle child, Jesse, particularlt interesting. Obviously an angry young man, despite his seemingly couldn't care less attitude I think he was in a great deal of emotional pain and couldn't find any 'positive' way of expressing this. Wonderfully written, I think the author did a tremendous job in getting under his skin.

My only concern?

Accompanying Sing You Home was a soundtrack (available via QR Codes, online, or on CD?) which was designed so that certain songs (corresponding with what main character Zoe is thinking and feeling at that moment) were paired with certain events - there were section breaks between the chapters that identified which songs were to be played when.

A great extra or a unnecessary novelty?

Of course that's a decision that every reader must make for themselves but for me (and I can't comment on the music itself because I didn't access the CD)it was something I just didn't see the need for, something that would have distracted me from a story that was exceptional enough that it really didn't need any thing added to it.

All in all two impressive reads, I'm glad I took the plunge in joining in Suko's The Jodi Picoult Project (link at the top of the page)and picking up My Sister's Keeper which had been on my TBR mountian for longer than I care to think.
My Sister's Keeper was the  83rd book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge and the 1st read for  The Jodi Picoult Project whilst Sing You Home was the 89th read for the 100+ Reading Challenge, the 2nd for The Jodi Picoult Project.



Mary (Bookfan) said...

Good to know that although they were a bit formulaic you liked them. I still haven't read this author but I know she's very popular.
I was happy to see your reviews come through my reader this morning. I hope you're feeling better.

A said...

I have read Sister's Keeper. It is an awesome book. I could not stop reading though it is serious.

Vivienne said...

I borrowed My Sister's Keeper from the library a few years ago but I never finished it. I think I found the storyline just too heartwrenching. I haven't tried a Jodi Picoult since.

Suko said...

Incredible double review, Petty! I didn't know about the CD for Sing You Home (do books need music, too? creative idea, though better suited for movies, I think). Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed these novels. Thank you for participating in this reading challenge (and for inspiring me to finish my own Jodi Picoult book, The Pact, which I'm reading too slowly). Eventually, I will do some sort of wrap up post and link to all the posts for The Jodi Picoult Project.

GMR said...

Have never read any of this author's prolific works....I'd give a maybe on the first and a probably not on the second. Thanks for the share!

Patti said...

I had the book "My Sister's Keeper", but I haven't read it because my sister went to the movie and told me the ending. Maybe I should give it a chance?

Tomz said...

100 books for the reading challenge? oh that looks like a tough job

Dorte H said...

It would be so much easier to live up to your reading goals if you didn´t have to review them, wouldn´t it? ;)

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

aw, i hope you're feeling better, tracy.

sounds like a wonderful book, worth the reading.
what a brilliant review!
thanks so much, indeed.

big hugs
betty xx

Kelly said...

I've yet to read any Jodi Picoult novels. I'm just not sure these really appeal to me, either. Maybe if I didn't already have so many other books that I really do want to read in my TBR pile.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Both do sound interesting, but I'm curious about the Sing You Home soundtrack. I don't know if I'd like it while reading but listening while thinking back on it... I might enjoy it then.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult. Thank you for the reviews--I've been thinking about reading My Sister's Keeper.

Sridharan said...

Your reviews are always interesting.. Hope to see your review of the 100th book soon..!

Mama Zen said...

Sing You Home is definitely on my list!

Monalisa said...

That was a terrific review. Would try to get the book in our library. Wish it be available

Mrs. W. said...

I love both of these. Thanks for the reviews and bringing them back to mind! I must try to do this 100 Challenge next year altho it seems rather insurmountable.! Sandra

Healthier And Wealthier said...

I love both of these. Thanks for the reviews and bringing them back to mind! I must try to do this 100 Challenge next year altho it seems rather insurmountable.! Sandra

Jenners said...

You pretty much summed up Picoult's formula. It has been irking me lately. I know she is a good writer so I think she can break out of this set-up she seems so wedded to!

naida said...

wow Petty, you are doing great with your 100+ reading challenge.
The songs for Sing You Home seem like an interesting addition.
I think I will read My Sister's Keeper soon.