January 19, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

My sister gave me Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper: A Novel for Christmas last year. I came home Christmas Day, unpacked, kissed everyone goodnight and sat down and read it straight through.

I've loaned the book out and have forgotten everyone's names, so I'll have to tell you about it with placeholder names. Sister A has cancer. The sort that requires an exact match donor to keep her alive. Mom and Dad arrange for an exact match donor to be born: Sister B. The novel opens with Sister B announcing that she is seeking legal medical emancipation, i.e. that she, not her parents, will determine if and when she donates more blood, marrow, organs etc. The story is -- obviously -- compelling. What would you do? as the sister? as the parents?

In addition, Picoult's writing is transparent; never once did I stumble or backtrack or in anyway become aware of the word-crafting. The story flew off the page and into me, and that is what I count as good writing. The never-saw-it-coming ending was another big plus.

And while we are the subject of designer babies, what do you think of this story in the London Times: Deaf Demand Right to Designer Deaf Children?
DEAF parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact, according to the chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID).
It comes down to -- if parents are to be allowed to screen embryos: whose ideas of 'good' qualities should prevail? Clearly here the RNID folks have a view of what is desirable that differs greatly from the view of the hearing community. Very interesting . . . may have to revisit this in another post.



  1. If the RNID is claiming tp support the right to deaf babies, this is as big an about-turn as as you can get, because the offcial policy of the RNID is CHOICE, that means they support the option to get RID of a deaf baby too, all that fence sitting must be a real pain !

    In reality there is the OFFICIAL stance as a 'deaf' charity, and ANOTHER stance via various members of the RNID heirachy. IN reality nobody from the deaf community takes any notice of the RNID !

  2. "IN reality nobody from the deaf community takes any notice of the RNID !"

    Rather like teachers' unions then.


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