Jodi Picoult’s MY SISTER’S KEEPER narrated by Richard Poe, Julia Gibson, Barbara McCulloh, Tom Stechschulte, Carol Monda, Jennifer Ikeda & Andy Paris

MY SISTER’S KEEPER, her eleventh novel, is the work that made Jodi Picoult famous. Jodi Picoult uses the formula that has worked so well in many other novels – American family in small-town America, with at least one very accomplished parent, highly-intelligent kids who ask lots of questions, a contemporary issue that is currently gripping the nation, which slides into tragedy,  ending with courtroom drama plus a surprising twist. Along the way, we often get supernatural happenings, bizarre events and lots of emotion on the page which makes the reader really care about the characters. In addition, Jodi Picoult depicts mothers who are always obssessed with at least one child, strong women, weaker (or more restrained) men. There is always a love story (often another strand) and at least one sex scene.

This is not to say that Jodi Picoult’s writing is not wonderful, that her plots are not extremely well thought-out, that she focuses on people caught in the pincer of tragedy along with moral quandaries and human failings. But what made this book disappointing for me was the pedestrian writing.

Having read ALL of Ms. Picoult’s eleven novels at this point, I know she can write beautifully. (My favorite Jodi Picoult novel THE PLAIN TRUTH attests to that.) But I also know that she is a writer on contract, that she writes her novels in the space of a gob-smacking nine months, that she is a mother and a busy person in general.

So, I’m going to take one star off what is otherwise a riveting novel, with a twisted ending that I personally liked, reflecting as it does the ironies of life, plus that old adage “be careful what you wish for.” Four Stars. #jodipicoult #mysisterskeeper