Before I finished the book: I always wonder(ed) can there be a book where you actually end up falling in love with almost all the characters, writer included. This became one of those very few books, where not one or two or three but almost all the characters leave a damn good mark on the reader - at least they did that to me. I hadn't read any of her works before this and fortunately this one just happened to be loved by so many people and I kept pushing it up on my "to be read" list - this weekend a very dear friend dropped by carrying three of Jodi Picoult books including this one (Yes! I have friends like that :)). The book was a breeze and is no less than a perfect thriller as I just couldn't put it down till the very end (more on that later) as my heart and mind both kept asking for more. She has written it very smartly giving the reader all the angles from almost all the character's sides, totally loved that idea and it works wonders, making it more clear for the reader. As I said I had no idea of what this book was all about hence found the story to be too touchy as we have lost quite a few people fighting with one or the other form of Cancer. One of my own Aunt passed away last year and we saw everything up close and personal, how its depicted in the book.
I was so much in love with the characters and the way story develops, the dark secrets revealed, agenda's disclosed and what not - But unfortunately the way it ends - it actually made me feel cheated - I mean C'mon - she could have ended it the way reader predicts it - would have worked wonders, why that filmy ending? If you have read the book - I would really like to know your views on the ending rest everything works perfectly well. Anna as the teenage girl ever helping her sister (knowingly and unknowingly), brother, parents and even strangers who gradually become her friends is a character that you just can't not fall in love with. Kate as her sister who is suffering from Cancer is another strong character and so is their destructive brother Jesse - I totally loved his histrionics and the way he lives, behaves, goes on rampage, so much like every other kid does in real life at that age. Their parents Brian (a fire fighter) and Sara (an x attorney) are an ever loving caring parents. But as the reality hits the reader on face behind this happy go lucky family it actually made me think hard - if it was really wrong or right on the parents part to do it, going for a daughter just because she will be a perfect donor for their elder daughter who is suffering from a rare form of Cancer, to what extent and gravity it goes - you've got to read the book for. I was shocked, surprised, sad, judgmental, at times happy too and what not as I kept going further.
The pace of the book is so damn good as its a story which is told to us in the course of only ten days, going back and forth in the past and coming back to present from so many angles that it keeps the reader in toes totally hanging by the edge of the chair not letting go off the book so as not to lose anything. Also even the supporting characters are written in such a nice way that I even loved them totally. Like the way Anna's Lawyer Campbell is carved out plus his ex girl friend who too comes back in the picture as story taking place in a very small town of Rhode Island, where everyone knows everyone. I even liked both the Judges :) and the way they go about the case. All in all - its an amazing unputdownable book with a ending which sucks otherwise it works very well on most counts. The way story of Anna and Kate goes back and forth in time - it actually made me think a lot of my own brother who I haven't met or spoken in couple of months - as we really used to have those times what these sisters do it. I have smiled, laughed, cried, got lumps in my throat, closed the book and thought about our own past and what not during the course of the book. I even brought it to my office and kept reading during breaks as well as here n there to not to lose the momentum. Its a fantastic read - I will definitely rate it at least a good 4/5 if not more. Barring the ending. But I am definitely going to read a couple of more books from her as I already got two more :) and see if they work for me or not.
This is my second book in a row which talks about flawed or say "Selfish Parents", although both are works of fiction but still it did shake me to believe it as in the story. Can there really be people like that? Like in Danielle Steele's "The Long Road Home" where they never wanted the daughter, dump her in a Convent and conveniently move on with their lives, get married have more kids that they wanted and still be at peace with themselves. And now here, in this one where they "Conceive" that too artificially to have the perfect genetically balanced "Girl" who could be used as a donor to save their other daughter - how heartless one could get? In reality if that happened to me - I would have rather sacrificed my own first child then have another one who will be used to save the first. How and what is the kid going to feel once he or she realizes why he or she was conceived? Wow. This left so many questions unanswered by the abrupt ending and I was so turned off by all that - that I didn't even read the answers Jodi Picoult gave to the questions asked by some followers, reviewers and critics I guess in the last few pages of the book. I was so angry - may be I will pick it up again and see what she has to say but no ways I believe she can justify it.
Do let me know if you have read it, how did you feel overall and how about the ending? Did it work for you? or there are people like me who didn't like the ending one bit, could there be a better end? like the way it ends in the movie?