Wednesday, June 22, 2011

True Singapore Ghost Stories Vol.21 by Russell Lee

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Year Published: 2011

Book 21 in the True Singapore Ghost Stories series is released, and as usual, contains collection of stories and true encounters of the contributors/readers.

The issue explored in this book, is about the world end, alleged to take place in 2012.
(Is this a ploy following the movie of the same title?)

Author Russell Lee shares his thoughts and views on this topic; and whether he concurs with the general thought that doomsday is on its way.

I think the recent spike in natural disasters and diseases has taken its toll on the human minds, and raised this alarming thought whether the world and mankind is about to come to an end and that Judgment Day is looming near, and further, the Mayans calendar seemed to end in the same alleged year.

However, researches and topics explored in the book tells you that NO one can predict WHEN is the end, whatever you read on the Internet, or hearing it from astrological experts and even mass media.

I happen to agree with Russell Lee, as seriously, we are just mere ordinary mortals and there is no way we can tell when we are about to meet our creator (if we ever get the chance to meet Him - we need to be worthy).

It is a thought provoking topic, and I am also surprised with a number of people who truly believed that the End is approaching and some are giving it all up to explore the world or to enjoy life to the fullest.
Aren't we supposed to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy each day anyway; whether the end is near or NOT?

A good topic for discussion, but I find the stories half as entertaining as they used to be in the earlier books. (Or was it me, growing out of it?)
Some of the stories were quite good, but I think the number of stories have decreased compared to before.

A good read nevertheless; especially if you are a fan/collector of the series.
Looking forward to Vol.22 soon, maybe next year? :)

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

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ISBN: 1-74114-693-3
Year Published: 2006

This is a novel about date rape, and also family background and relationships.
There are a few issues addressed here:
1. Date Rape
2. Childhood background/past history
3. Husband and wife relationship
4. Family relationship

The whole plot centers on this family; the Stones - Daniel (father), Laura (mother), Trixie (Daughter).

Story/Plot:Daniel had a disturbing past during his childhood and youth when he grew up in Alaska, and he was someone that Laura would never have imagined she would end up maried to one day. However, his charms won her heart and academician Laura was soon pregnant with his child.

When Trixie was born, Daniel doted on her so much that he was willing to give up his career just to take care of her at home while Laura strives to establish her career in the academics. It was perhaps his love for Trixie, or his excitement to be a father which is a new role for him, but I think it had something to do with his past whereby he wanted to make sure Trixie was brought up with love and attention.

Daniel was extremely talented in drawing and was approached by renowned comic companies to work for them. After years of pushing them away from his doorstep, he finally accepted a work-from-home job to enable him to continue to care for Trixie.

Trixie grew into a pretty and rebellious fourteen year old, who was going through a transition period following her breakup with her boyfriend, Jason Underhill.
Unable to get over the break up and how her boyfriend seemed to be moving on with another girl, Trixie took her best friend's advice to try to make him jealous at a party by seducing other guys in the school. Her plan probably succeeded and Jason seemed to still care for her as he shielded her from being taken advantage of.

The story takes a turn when Daniel found Trixie in the house at 4am, after the party and she claimed that she had been raped by Jason Underhill.
Trixie was sent to the hospital for examination, while her mother could not be contacted at that time as she was breaking up with her student boyfriend whom she spent the night with.

Trixie's accusations led to Jason Underhill losing his scholarship and was to be tried in court, but the whole school sided with Jason and nobody believed in Trixie except her own family. At the same time, her parents were undergoing a tough time with each other following the discovery of her mother's cheating on her father.

The story turned more complex when Jason's side of the story was revealed, and suddenly, there was a vague line between the truth and imagination.
The change of events also led to Daniel having to return to Alaska to confront his own past while mending his relationship with his wife and daughter.

As usual, I will not reveal too much, as there is suspense to what you will find as you read.

My opinion:Honestly, I find the story a little slow, despite the good plot. The story started slowly with Daniel and Trixie, and then climaxed a little after Trixie's party but it plummeted down again when it came to finding Trixie.
I find the whole plot intriguing but the direction of the story seemed to heading in so many different directions that it got a little more complex than entertaining.
I wouldn't say this is my favorite book from Picoult, as I preferred her other books.

I was kinda disappointed in the twist of the story, I would say, but there was a very good insight in the story which led to many thought provoking questions:
1. Does a woman take her husband for granted when he becomes a home husband while she pursues her career? Will there be pride and inferiority complex in the household?

2. Can the past truly be put behind you, just by running away from the place where you came from?

3. Will you believe and stand for your daughter, despite her reputation and disobedience, even when the whole world tells you otherwise?

4. What are the lengths that parents would take just to protect their child?

5. Giving up on career to care for a child - is it truly for the best? Does that mean that your child will not grow up on the negative side?

There are just so many issues addressed, and the above are just a few that ran through my mind when I read the book.

I may consider reading it a second time, and I do recommend it to parents who are close to their children as it explores on the changes when the child grows into a teenager and how they became strangers overnight.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

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The prequel to The Last Empress by the same author, the novel begins from the humble life of the famous Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi, aka Orchid and how she entered the palace to her historical fame in China's monarchy.

I have definitely sung praises for The Last Empress, which ironically was the book I read before this prequel and I have to say, Anchee Min did not disappoint in this book either.
It was amazing the imagination of the author as she saw the world of palace life through the young eyes of an ordinary girl like you and me.

Despite the general perception of how manipulative or conniving the empress was in her early days to gain power and the favor of the emperor in the kingdom, in this book, the empress was portrayed as a young girl who yearned to be loved and to learn about love and survival in a world filled with deception and secrets.

When Orchid first entered the palace, she never imagined that she would have to resort to tactics to ensure her survival in the palace. Being the naive girl she was, she thought that her entry into palace as one of the consort contestants would save her family from the poverty state they are in but she ended up yearning to gain attention from the most desirable man in the palace; the Emperor himself.

It was not her intention to gain power and status when she first entered, but succumbing to a daily boring routine of a life made her changed her mind and she soon wondered about being loved by a man; and none other but the ruler of the country himself.
Feeling the misery of loneliness, Orchid soon realized that she had to resort to ways others had been practising before her to gain entry to the Emperor's chamber before his heart.

It was an interesting journey as Anchee Min dived into the deepest desires and fears of a young girl of 17 based on the basic instincts of a human being.
When Orchid found her way to the chamber of the Emperor, she found that the Emperor too, had paved his presence in her heart. Her efforts had not been wasted; as she gained the love of the Emperor who started to spend time with her alone as she was not only there to satisfy his manly desires but also one whom he could confide in.

Orchid slowly started to secretly help the Emperor in his government of the country, paving her path as one of the most historical women in one of the strongest Chinese dynasties.

I have always felt that Anchee Min 'breathed' life into the famous Empress; bringing her from her high rank above down to our level, that the Empress herself was once a young girl from a simple background and that she had thoughts just like any curious young girl would have had.
It is amazing and I must say that the story had a 'soul', as Empress Orchid is portrayed as truly, an ordinary woman and not all the scheming or evil person that most fiction/history books portrayed her to be and that she too, had her own reasons in everything that she did.

It is a tale of reality, and not just about history and I highly recommend this for a read. It may be a historical fiction, but who knows? Empress Orchid was indeed someone like us before she ascended to power; only that she had to find a way to survive amidst the dark settings in the palace where everyone is fighting for survival.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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ISBN: 978-0-7475-9489-5
Year Published: 2003

Excerpt of the story from the back of the book:
1970s Afghanistan: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

This is a simple yet engaging story about the friendship of two boys and the perspective of a young boy who had to struggle with his own pride and guilt for his loyal friend. The story is set in the country of Afghanistan and touches the topics of political struggles and religious perspectives.

Amir and Hassan grew up together, and bonded like brothers since young. At a glance they may seem like they are similar to each other, but they are very different in their social background as Amir hails from a wealthy Pashtun family (considered as a higher class of people in Afghanistan) while Hassan is the son of the servant in Amir's home and a Hazara (a lower class group in the country due to their origin and are often slaves or servants to the upper class Pashtuns).

The story was divided into two parts; the childhood in 1970s and their adulthood in different countries.
The friendship between the two boys was the moving part in the whole story; where readers could feel the sincerity and genuity of Hassan's loyalty towards Amir who was a little doubtful and ashamed of being seen as close to his servant boy.
Amir was not exactly mean, but the author portrayed him as a boy struggling to find his own identity; thus having doubts and mixed feelings were a norm for growing boys.
At the same time, Amir had to fight for the affections of his own father, whom he fondly referred to as Baba, who seemed to prefer Hassan over him sometimes.

Amir was more inclined towards journalism and possess a rather gentle side and he knew that he would not be approved by his father who seemed to think that a man should grow up to be a man; to be brave and daring in their life. His only bet was on his hobby; kite-fighting and he aimed to win the kite-fighting tournament to impress his father and win his affections. He had the help and support from his best friend, Hassan and with God's will, he won the tournament.
The joyful Amir then sent Hassan to collect his kite but when Hassan was not back after a while, he went in search for Hassan and he witnessed an incident which changed their lives forever. (It will be a spoiler if I share it here, so I'd recommend reading the book:)

The story continues where the boys start to drift apart; particularly Amir, who, due to the suffering of his own guilt, shied away from Hassan and one day, Hassan and his father, Ali, decided to take leave, leaving his Baba in a devastated state.

The story then shifts to the Russian invasion and how Amir and his Baba fled the country to America where Amir studied and established his career. However, there is always the incident which affected him and he knew that Afghanistan will always be his home. When Amir met up with an old family friend one day, he discovered a shocking truth which forced him to make a decision to redeem himself from his long-lasting guilt from the incident which happened during his childhood.

My opinion:
It was a brilliant story, and a most captivating one as the author plays with the simple entanglement of two boys' friendship and turned it into an authentic piece of story. One would feel for Amir; as the main protagonist struggled to redeem himself and in the meantime, search for his own identity away from pleasing his father.
The story of betrayal, friendship, guilt, and pride all rolled into one and using the unique background of Afghanistan, it is a promising read.
I won't reveal too much here but I highly recommend this book not just for the story, but for the understanding of the social background of the land of Afghanistan.

A recommended read, I must say.
I enjoyed reading this book, and I finished the book during my flight!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

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Imagine yourself in this scenario:

A cop husband murdered, first daughter was raped and brutally killed, and the murderer was found guilty and sentenced to death, a first in your hometown which was almost synonymous with peace and low crime rates.
Another nightmare begins when the second daughter was born with a heart defect and a heart transplant is needed to sustain her life and the murderer who killed your husband and daughter wants to donate his heart to save your daughter.
What would you do?

This is the scenario faced by June Nealon, the protagonist in this story who had to struggle between her own love for her daughter and the hate she harbors for the person responsible for ripping her life apart.
It was a thin line between love and hate, and she has to make a decision to cross that line to save her daughter.

In comes another protagonist, who was supposed to be the big villain in the story; Shay Bourne who was sentenced to death in New Hampshire's first death penalty in a century. He was someone with a disability in speaking, and did not fend for himself during the trial.
He was the main character in the whole story; rather than June Nealon as most of the story was focused on him.

Father Michael, a Catholic priest who was the spiritual advisor to Shay found himself questioning his own faith when he was with Shay. Defense attorney Maggie Bloom whose initial motive was to help Shay to win in his plea to donate his heart found herself trying to understand Shay.

The whole story revolves around the four main characters; but mainly on Shay whom I believe is the leading character in this story rather than June Nealon.
His silence creates doubts in readers' minds whether he really did commit the heinous crime, but yet at the same time, when he finally meets June, he uttered words which made one think that perhaps he did it.

For me, knowing Jodi Picoult's style helped as I did not believe that Shay was guilty right from the start.
I don't know how to say it, but I just could not feel that someone who was quiet and mild-mannered could be capable of such a crime.
It sounds silly, but it is not wrong either.

This novel, to me, was not as engaging as the other novels by Picoult that I have read, I must say as there was too much focus on the scenes in the prison than on the victims.
Another focus of the plot was on the doubts surrounding Shay whether he could be the human form of the Son of God, based on the miracles and healing he had performed in prison.

The overall theme of the story was a rather captivating one; but the way it turned out in the novel seems to lose the climax in the midst of the story and the ending, well, not quite as expected.

If I were the author, I would spare some of the storyline for June Nealon, and also the memories of her first husband, the dead second cop husband and her eldest daughter and also, to throw in some weird things she found about her husband to arouse more mystery in the story.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter

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ISBN: 9780340899618
Year Published: 2006

Excerpt of story from the back of the book:
I wish:
I could get a seat on the tube...
I hadn't eaten that entire bag of Maltesers...
I could meet a man whose hobbies include washing up and monogamy...

Heather Hamilton is always wishing for things. Not just big stuff - like world peace, or that Brad Pitt wants her as his next leading lady - but little, everyday wishes made without thinking. With her luck, she knows they'll never come true...
Until one day she buys some heather from a gypsy.
Suddenly the bad hair day stops. A handsome American answers her ad for a housemate. She starts seeing James - The Perfect Man who sends her flowers, excels in the bedroom, and isn't afraid to say 'I Love You'.

But are these wishes-come-true a blessing or a curse?
Does getting what you want make you happy?
And is there such a thing as too much foreplay?

In this magical romantic comedy, Alexandra Potter reveals what might happen if all your wishes really did come true...

My opinion/review:
I am a big fan of Alexandra Potter's books, honestly, like Huge as they are always hilarious and had me laughing from chapter to chapter. She just has this wicked sense of humor and I find it ingenious on how she could turn a simple everyday story into something so common yet ridiculous and it is happening to all of us, whether we realized it or not.
This novel is no different, as we gaze into the life of Heather Hamilton, who like some of us, is just an ordinary everyday girl who wished that things would be different or glamourous once in our lives.
That someone would take notice of us, that we could be just as popular as some of those pop idols out there, or that our wishes could sometimes come true, no matter how crazy it may be.
You get the idea.

Heather is tired of living her day everyday like there is no excitement; she works as an assistant to a wedding photographer who is a cheerful gay guy who is also her close friend.
She dreamt of hitting a job with a published magazine, and that she would find a charming guy to live happily ever after with; or in particular that cute neighbor whom she always peeped at from her window.
Things did not seem to turn better and her life seemed to be doomed for failure as her job is slowly losing the grip and she has to rent out a room to help to survive.

Just when things are turning to the darker side, she was approached by a gypsy on a particularly bad day and was persuaded into buying a lucky heather. Skeptical, she bought it anyway as it was not too expensive and to appease the gypsy so that she will stop bothering her and turns out, this was indeed a lucky heather although Heather did not know it at the time.
Things start to change for the better:
1. A handsome and eligible American man answered her ad for the room and became her housemate.
2. Her handsome neighbor starts to show interest in her and asked her out.
3. She was in for a job at a well-known magazine
4. She was starting to lose weight
5. Even the weather was getting better; there were no longer rain...

Everything seemed to look more and more promising to Heather, and suddenly life seemed to look so much better. However, Heather soon came to realize that her wishes came with a price and that not everything were as sunny as they seem.
She could get the pink stilettos that she had her eyes on but they hurt her ankle and she fell down when she wore them or that instance when she wished that there would be no traffic on the road, she got a parking ticket for the very first time.
Even her seemingly perfect neighbor boyfriend suddenly don't seem so perfect anymore.
It was then that Heather realize that when wishes come true, there will be a subsequent consequence....
(not revealing much to spoil your read :)

I loved this book; just like all of Alexandra Potter's books (did I mention I was a fan?). I enjoyed the thoughts of Heather and how she would be wishing for things to look a little on the brighter side once in a while. I think that kinda linked with what we girls have in mind sometimes, don't we?
It is true, that things don't come cheap nor free and that there is always a chain effect from one single incident.
It is an absolutely enjoyable and hilarious journey with Heather Hamilton, and I am sure the girls would love reading this as much as I do.
For the guys, you would enjoy reading and finding out what do girls always want :)

Read on, and don't wish for it to be a perfect story....Be Careful What You Wish For ;)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

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Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN 0-7434-5452-9

Have you ever read a book that builds up your emotions; from touched to sadness to empathy, to joy and even leads you to immense anger with the author?

If you haven't, then you have not read this book by Jodi Picoult.

No, this is not a promotional post for the book by Jodi Picoult, but rather my very own review and personal opinion on a novel that I have just finished reading.

I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time, and I was happy to finally get my hands on it when I spotted it in the bookshop!

Synopsis of the story: (spoilers ahead)
Sara and Brian Fitzgerald's eldest daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer affecting her blood and bone marrow; Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia at the age of two.
Eager to save her child, Sara decided to conceive a second child through the doctor's guided implementation to produce that 'perfect' donor to match Kate's samples.

Anna, was born to be the life support of Kate. From the day she was born, she was destined to be donating her blood and bodily substances to Kate to aid her survival.
Anna was obliging since young, until the age of thirteen, when she was told she had to donate one of her kidneys to Kate, she decided against the decision and even filed a lawsuit against her parents for medical emancipation of her own body.
With the little money she had accummulated over the years, she hired lawyer Campbell Alexander who decided to help her against all costs.

Sara was furious with Anna's decision and battled against Campbell in court to retain her daughter in her own house. The court initially relented but when Campbell lodged a complaint that Sara could harass Anna at home, making her change her mind about the lawsuit, the court appointed Julia Romano as Anna's Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) whose job is to understand and decide what is best in Anna's interests.

While Sara was fuming over Anna's decision, Brian decided to try to understand his younger daughter's decision and even agreed that it was the best for her. At the same time, the troubled couple had to deal with the antics of their rebellious and troubled eldest teenage son, Jesse.

Anna stayed with her father, Brian at the fire station quarters where he worked while Sara took care of the dying Kate in the hospital.
Sara defended herself in court and tried to persuade Anna to donate her kidney to Kate as a final favor to save her life.
Anna refused this offer and Campbell took his stand in court.

The wilful Sara turned to a passionate mother in court, begging Anna for Kate's last chance of survival.
During the lawsuit, a surprising revelation took a twist when Anna revealed that it was Kate who asked Anna to initiate this lawsuit for medical emancipation because Kate did not want her sister to sacrifice for her anymore and she has decided that she did not want to live and suffer any longer, and she knows she will die anyway.
The shocking revelation stunned the whole court, and Sara refused to believe it despite Anna telling about the various incidents that Kate had tried to take her own life over the years.

Anna won the court case eventually, and Campbell was granted the authority and medical power as Anna's attorney to aid her decisions in all her medical treatments, etc.

When Campbell drove Anna home after the trial, they were involved in a serious accident where they were hit by a truck. Brian was dispatched to the scene and tried to revive the unconscious Anna who suffered a major injury to her head and when she arrived in the hospital, the doctors pronounced her brain dead and that the parents would want to consider any organ transplants.
Campbell declared that there is a patient upstairs in need of a kidney and Anna's kidney was successfully transplanted in her own sister, Kate.

At the end of the book, Kate was still alive after 6 years.

Character Analysis:
Anna Fitzgerald

The purposely-conceived child by Sara and Brian for Kate's survival. Since young, she was admitted to hospitals continuously whenever Kate collapses despite being a healthy person herself. She had to endure the pain of the treatments and injections for the sake of Kate. She did not understand what was happening, she did not want it to happen to herself but she was just thrown into it unwillingly. Nobody took notice of how she wanted to live her life, and everyone only started to pay attention to her when she filed for a lawsuit and when Kate is in a dying state in need of a kidney.
Her life was almost equivalent to non-existent; when she was ignored of all her pleas and her cries but I applaud her strength and I admire her mature way of handling situations despite being only 13. Of course, there were times when she just cried like a little girl when she felt depressed, but let's face it, how many of us had gone through a life like Anna's without feeling suicidal at all?

Kate Fitzgerald:
She was a healthy baby, until two, when she was diagnosed with a rare blood and bone marrow cancer and since then, she was like a ticking bomb, just waiting for the day of her death. She suffered for years, despite being aided medically by the donations of bodily substances by her beloved sister, Anna.
She felt depressed at her own state, and how she could never be normal like other girls her age. She had lost her hair and she looked awful and she dare not walk out of the door without feeling miserable as she does not own the lovely hair nor looks of her own pride. When she met a boy she loved at the hospital, she had to meet with devastation when he died and she knew that her life was bound for that; death.
That was the main reason she did not want her own sister, Anna to continuously sacrifice for her when she knew that she would not survive for long. She knew her mother would not listen, and she worked with Anna to file for that lawsuit for medical emancipation, despite knowing her mother would be angry.
She did not want to live anymore, and she did not want her sister Anna to be totally deprived of her own life for her.
I truly applaud Kate's courage and selflessness for her sister, despite being the sick one who got all the attention in this story.
She was truly an amazing character who just wanted everyone else to be happy.

Truly, Kate and Anna are my most amazing novel characters!

Jesse Fitzgerald
The eldest son of the Fitzgeralds and the elder brother of both Kate and Anna. He was also deprived of attention and harboured anger towards their parents for neglecting him. In his bid for attention during his sister's law turmoil, he committed a few crimes.
I pity Jesse as he was also, mostly neglected since he was a child (or since Kate was born). He was worse than Anna actually; at least Anna was remembered when Kate collapsed but Jesse was always on the hind, and he never did have a chance to enjoy activities with his parents like other children. His parents went back on their promises whenever Kate was in an emergency and over the years, who could blame his resentful behavior towards Kate and his parents?
He was closer to Anna, and in fact, he was the one who helped Anna in the lawsuit from the background and when Anna died in the end, he turned over a new leaf and became a law enforcer for a change.

Brian Fitzgerald
Father of the Jesse, Kate and Anna, and a dedicated fireman. He was the most understanding and composed character in the story, and to a certain extent, he played the role of a mediator in most situations. I loved how he never blamed Anna for her decision and even fought to defend her, despite risk incurring his wife's wrath. However, he had his sentiments too when he was torn in between at the court; between his two daughters and his wife. He was more harsh with his son, but I guess that's the norm with most dads.
I liked his parental character the most, and he was the one, I felt, who showed the most compassion for Anna.

Campbell Alexander
A man who had a bitter past himself and was in pain for losing the one woman he loved. He specialized in children cases, and he was initially resistent towards Anna's case as she did not have enough to pay him but he eventually took up the case. What started as a selfish bid to gain popularity for himself turned into a personal emotional race when he experienced the emotions and compassion felt for Anna throughout her life.
He cared for Anna like his own daughter and fought for her best interests; I truly liked this character.

Julia Romano
Appointed Guardian Ad Litem by the court for Anna, and the former love interest of Campbell Alexander. She never did understand the reason Campbell broke up with her during their teenage love relationship and misunderstood him as a player. However, when she found out about Campbell's medical condition(Epilepsies), she forgave him and they got back together. She loved Anna as well, and it was unique that for the first time in her GAL assignments, she was unable to reach a recommendation for the court, as she starts to understand the Fitzgerald's family.
She was torn between the interests of Anna, and the concerns of Sara as a devoted mother and the sick and dying Kate.

Sara Fitzgerald
I left her the last because I felt different emotions for this character; but mostly anger.
She was too obsessed with Kate's medical condition that she never stopped to think for Anna and Jesse. She was too stubborn with her own views and even when she softened down with Anna, it was to plead with her guilt to donate that kidney!
Sometimes, I wonder whether she did love Anna at all.
At the same time, I understood the emotional struggle she had as a mother to ensure the best of all her children but still, I could not help feeling that she only had Kate's best interests at heart.
I felt really angry with this character, despite her constant struggles and conversations with her sister and how she was on the verge of breaking down, but really, she should take a step back sometimes to understand how Anna and Jesse felt.
She was just too stubborn for her own good.

My personal opinion:
I was really saddened by Anna's narration right from the start; being the child who felt like she was deprived of attention and love from the very beginning.
At 13, she felt like she was only created for a reason; to save her sister and without that purpose, she meant nothing to the family.
(It was evident when she left the dining table and no one noticed).
I emphatized with her emotional struggle with guilt, pity and prioritizing herself for once. It was a load of emotional supply for a young girl like her.
It was a journey filled with anxiety and misery when Anna took that step to file for a lawsuit and it seemed that nobody understood her at all, except for her lawyer, guardian ad litem and father. She was deeply saddened by her mother's rage and wanted to just leave everything behind and run to her arms, but yet she knew it was wrong.
It was understandable when Anna revealed that it was Kate's request to do so, which was why she held on firmly to the lawsuit despite her continuous give-ups right from the start. I was surprised at how indecisive she was until I found out that it was not her, it was the struggle to fulfill what Kate wanted.

I truly pitied Anna, who lived her life for EVERY one around her, except herself and I hated Sara, a mother who clearly had no compassion for this 'donor' child.
She seemed to emphasize more on Kate, the sick child, and yes, it was understandable to shower Kate with more attention due to her medical condition, but not to the extent of neglecting your other two children who was deprived of a normal childhood and growing up phase.
Furthermore, it was morally disturbing that she created a child to lengthen her sick child's livelihood.
It seemed wrong to me, but even if she did so, she should have been more accommodating to Anna in all her needs.
I felt so sad with each of Anna's pleas when she wanted to just go back to her mother and drop the whole lawsuit, and yet Sara was only trying to persuade her to donate her kidney.
When Anna eventually won, she had to die...this was when I felt truly upset and angered with Jodi Picoult's decision but yet, when I took some time to think about it, perhaps it was a good way to end because even if Anna won the lawsuit, she would have to live with guilt for the rest of her life if Kate dies without her kidney.
Either way, Anna would still be unhappy and this way, she would be alleviated of her sorrows and guilt throughout the lawsuit.

My Verdict:
READ this book by all means, it is truly a great read and gives you a good thought on what is morally right or wrong and that there is always a thin line when it comes to emotional struggle.
I heard that there is a movie produced too; starring Cameron Diaz but the movie had a change in the storyline and the ending.

Before you watch the movie, I highly recommend the book but be warned ahead, if you are one who cannot accept unexpected and unfavorable endings which could lead to anger and destruction, you might want to think twice.
I know I did not want to read Jodi Picoult for a while after reading this book, because she killed poor Anna =P