My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

my_sisters_keeperWhat Picoult does best is pose a moral dilemma and craft a story around it.  I like many of her books, but this one is my favorite.  In it, 13-year-old Anna is not sick but she might as well be.  She has undergone countless medical procedures so that her sister Kate can counter the leukemia she has been fighting since childhood.  In fact, Anna was conceived to provide a bone marrow transplant for Kate.  But Anna is beginning to question her role, and she sues her parents for the right to make her own medical decisions.  The book does more than just question the legitimacy of giving birth to one child to save another.  It also raises the specter of how far it is okay for parents to go to save a child, and if the child has the right to question the parents’ decisions.  What happens to the healthy child or children when the family deals with such an illness?  My Sister’s Keeper addresses these questions and more with an unexpected twist at the end you won’t see coming.

 

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Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells

divineAbsorbing book about a southern woman who was mistreated by her mother, Vivi, as a child.  With help from her mother’s friends, she comes to understand the reasons for Vivi’s behavior. This is an interesting story with great depictions of southern life.  Siddalee Walker, a play director, has never had a smooth relationship with her mother, but when a newspaper article comes out in which she makes less than flattering remarks about Vivi, their relationship takes a turn for the worse.  Vivi’s friends, Teensy, Necie and Caro, members of a society they created when they were girls — the Ya-Ya Sisterhood — step in to help Siddalee understand the dark secrets from Vivi’s past that fueled her less than stellar performance as a mother.

Valley Of The Dolls – Jaqueline Susann

DollsMelodrama at its best!  Susann isn’t regarded as a literary lion but her book about three young women and how their lives intersect is deliciously entertaining nonetheless.  Anne, Jennifer and Neely seek success in the 1960’s, ultimately abusing prescription pills as their dreams fall short of their expectations.  Anne Welles, a bright college graduate from New England, lands in Manhattan looking for an exciting job which she ultimately finds in the entertainment industry and then as a model.  Jennifer North, a beautiful blonde, who longs for acceptance as a human being but is regarded as a sex object instead, begins a career as an actress.  Neely O’Hara, a talented singer, establishes a career on the stage and in film, but clashes with an older, established star who understands that work can’t take the place of family and friends.

Home Front – Kristin Hannah

Home FrontI love Kristin Hannah.  No one is able to evoke pathos better. This book is one of my favorites.  In it, a couple are facing marital difficulties as they struggle with children, bills, careers and chores. Wife, Jolene, is a soldier, husband, Michael, a defense attorney. When an unexpected deployment sends Jolene to Afghanistan, she agonizes about leaving her family but knows her duty as a soldier.  Michael, a busy attorney, must pick up the slack at home.  Jolene shields her family from the truth about life on the front lines until she is wounded in combat and returns home a changed person.  Can they pick up the pieces and keep their family from disintegrating?

In Her Shoes – Jennifer Weiner

In Her ShoesI am not a huge fan of Chick Lit but I make an exception for this book!  Rose Feller is a successful attorney.  She is not particularly attractive, but she dreams of love and romance. Her sister Maggie is gorgeous, but slow, and can’t seem to hold a job. Maggie makes life difficult for Rose, who waits impatiently for her sister to grow up.  The only thing they have in common is a shared tragedy from their past.  After Maggie sleeps with Rose’s boyfriend, she flees to Florida, to a grandmother neither of them knows, but who manages to help them both realize the best in themselves and in each other.