I was kind of sceptical about this book because my friend who recommended it described it as ‘the best book I have read in a long time’. Now, when a book comes with such high praise, it is almost always doomed to underwhelm.

Surprisingly, it surpassed her recommendation. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ is the story of Anna and Kate. Kate was diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was very young. Because of her age and the severity of her illness, doctors believe that a non-familial donor match has a high chance of being rejected by Kate’s body and not working. Her parents make the decision to have a third child and through genetic technology, ensure that she is a complete donor match for Kate. This is how Anna is born; essentially her purpose in life is as a donor body for Kate. All her life Anna undergoes operations to donate bone marrow (and other things which I can’t remember) to her sister and the book begins when at 13, she walks into a solicitor’s office to sue her parents for the legal rights to her body because she is expected to donate a kidney to Kate and she doesn’t want to.

While the book is primarily about Anna and Kate, there are plenty of other significant characters and good storylines. Anna’s lawyer, her legal guardian appointed by the court, brother Jesse, mother and father and her sister; Kate all feature prominently.

The book constantly has you thinking about the moral implications of decisions made; decisions that break an entire family down (even though they don’t notice because they’re all much too busy trying to keep Kate alive) and create a divide between father and mother. I dare anyone that reads the book to try and take sides easily, because quite simply, you can’t. Nobody is wrong. The caption on the front of the book says something like, ‘If you risk one child’s life to save another, are you a good mother or a very bad one’ and it sums up the dilemma quite well.

While the book contains a lot of medical terms and descriptions, it does not get bogged down by them. It is very humorous in parts and the ‘twist’ and the shocking dramatic end had a chill running through my spine. This is in fact one of the best books I have read in a long while; and I don’t give that accolade out lightly. If there is one book I’d recommend everyone reads, it’s this one.

The Divide

Book info: The Divide. Nicholas Evans. London: Penguin Books Ltd. 2005. ISBN 0-399-15206-7

If you’ve read both The Horse Whisperer and The Loop, then you’re probably used to Nicholas Evans’ unpredictability.

In The Divide, he explores the underlying themes of love and loyalty in a marriage slowly going apart and the effect separation can has on the children. In doing so, Nicholas Evans proves himself capable of delving into the human psyche as Fyodor Dostoevsky, the late Russian master of that genre.

The Cooper family is an otherwise normal family – at least to everyone outside as well as the children. From the onset, we feel Benjamin Cooper’s – sexual rejection from his wife Sarah, the disdain in which he is held by his father-in-law and the near-perfect love his children share with him.

Abigail, the daughter, brilliant, worshipful of her father is devastated when he leaves her mother for another woman while Joshua is completely supportive of him and of Eve, the woman Benjamin left his wife for. His character is perhaps, the most complex of all as Nicholas Evans explores the conflicts between his love interests, drugs and his dedication to his sister.

Sarah, Benjamin’s wife and the mother of Abigail and Joshua is another complicated character. Her moods swing from hurt and blame to the despair at the realization that she is partly to blame for her husband’s desertion as evidenced by the seduction of her husband in an attempt to make up for the rejection and to prove she is not frigid.

Abigail’s death is the catalyst to the reunion of the family – although not in the way expected. While still legally married to Benjamin, Sarah gives her blessing to the union between him and Eve – and gets involved with the sheriff investigating their daughter’s death.

Nicholas Evans blends wit, humor and satire in an original style that can be called his – simple, clear language that converts his hours of long research into a work that can be understood by both the technical and non-technical. Unlike most writers I’ve come across, I always say ‘This guy knows what he’s talking about’ when I read a Nicholas Evans book.

The plot is smooth, and though bizarre in some ways, he manages to convince you. The speech is very realistic and true to life and one recognizes something that could have really happened.

The Divide is a very touching story, humorous in some places and evoking different feelings depending on the side one takes. Nicholas Evans has once again created a masterpiece in a genre that defies classification and can be called his.

I seem to have scared people away. I apologize for going too technical and promise to write shorter and more down-to-earth articles in future. Sorry, Buki.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

Ms May says: About a woman from Atlanta who is HIV positive and decides to return home to Michigan because Atlanta has become too small. I'm currently reading a couple of others by her so I'll let you know about those when I'm done. Pearl Cleage is the woman who wrote the poem for Oprah's Legends Ball called "We Speak Your Names". Great poem by the way.
Tori says: I really liked " What looks like Crazy.."the end was sorta anticlimatic for me, but it truly was a book from a very fresh very unapologetic perspective.

Chill Factor by Sandra Brown

Ms May Says: More on the Romance/Murder Mystery tip. I'm not into those type of books usually, but this was a good one. It grips you from the beginning and you end up rooting for the "supposed" bad guy along the way.

Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman

Ms May Says: A good one to read/own for 20 somethings.

God's Gift To Women by Michael Baisden

SYNOPSIS: The night before leaving Chicago with his ten-year-old daughter for a job on a late-night talk show in Houston, Julian Payne has a sexual encounter with Olivia Brown, who follows him to Houston, determined to make him hers at any cost.

Anybody read it? How was it?

Be Careful What You Wish For by Cheryl Faye

SYNOPSIS (from this site): How do you measure the worth of a woman? Or determine the value of a man? In this sexy, suspenseful novel, Cheryl Faye takes on the hot-button issues facing men and women as they struggle to build meaningful, lasting relationships.

Who has read it? And what do you think about it?

This Blog Sef!

What is the point really? LOL!!!

Noone has time for it... I think I will blog about this on my main blog and ask people to email me what books they are reading and their views, etc.

I am not going to give up on this blog just yet!!!

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