Suspension of Disbelief: My Sister’s Keeper
Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.
Review: This week, I’m taking a bit of a different approach to Suspension of Disbelief, reviewing both the novel and the movie adaptation.
First, the commonalities between the two: My Sister’s Keeper is the story of a Anna, 13 year old girl who’s whole reason for being born was being a perfect match for her older sister, Kate, who has leukemia. Her whole life, she’s been in and out of the hospital, donating more of herself to save her sister’s life. When Kate’s kidneys start failing, she’s asked to donate a kidney as well. But the surgery is dangerous for both girls; it may not help Kate at all, and will always leave Anna vulnerable herself. But, as a 13 year old, her parents have custody of her, and her body; she has little choice in the matter. So, she sues, getting an attorney on her side to get medical emancipation, get control of herself.
The movie was relative faithful to the book, up until the ending. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I won’t go into too much detail. However, I found the ending in the movie adaptation to be much more real, and much more impactful, than the ending in the book. One of them is predictable; the other has a major plot twist, making the epilogue significantly different. Either way, it is heartwrenching- definitely a tear-jerker throughout, and especially at the end.
This story is a lot different from my usual fare, because I found it requires very little suspension of disbelief. It’s not a fantastic tale of other worlds and extraordinary people. Perhaps because of that, I’ve found it to be one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read or watched. While this particular case is fictional, the story of a family torn by cancer is not. In both movie and novel, the story is honest, frank, and deeply emotional.