1. Reread the prologue to My Sister's Keeper. Who is the speaker? Is it the same person you thought it was the first time you read it?
Janet- I don't have the book anymore!
Lisa- After finishing the story you have to assume it was Kate who is speaking in the Prologue; because she’s not dead, but you assume that starting the book that the sister with cancer must die.
2. What is the metaphorical relevance of Brian's profession as a fire chief?
J- As a fire chief, Brian has to put out the fire before it hurts someone. At home, he puts out fires one by one, hopefully before it hurts someone.
L- He saves lives everyday, but he is powerless to save his daughter.
Stacy- Brian puts out fires for a living, but with the fire burning in his own home it's not as easy. One might think that maybe the life of his daughter is the fire and we're just waiting for it to go out.
3. Why is Jesse's behavior so aberrant, while until now, Anna has been so compliant?
J- Jesse is the one who has to mourn the loss of his childhood. He knows his parents have to focus on Kate. Anna knows that too and responds in a different way because she has grown up this way and knows no difference.
L- I think Jesse probably felt useless not being able to help his sister like Anna does. Yet he probably also feels glad he’s not going through the same stuff as Anna. Which then makes him feel guilty all over again. Anna and Kate are best friends there is nothing that Anna wouldn’t do for her. At the age of 13 she’s thinking of her future and looking forward to growing up so until now she didn’t even question if she would help save her sister or not. Plus what she did before is nothing on the scale of donating an organ.
S- I think that Jesse's character is very interesting, he's this rebel kid, but when it comes down to it he's a great brother. He's there for Anna when she needs him to give her rides and to get in to see Kate, he supports her in her choices and he's there with Kate when no one else is. Anna is clearly compliant until now because she loves her sister, and she didn't know she had a choice to say no. How would she have known that she could say no?
4. What might be a possible reason for Brian's fascination with astronomy?
J- It seems to me to be another way to escape. With astronomy, there are maps and directions. With Brian's life there are no maps or directions, it probably would be comforting.
L- It’s the unknown. It reminds him of his life.
5. On page 98, Kate is being admitted to the hospital in very serious condition. She mouths to Jesse, "tell Anna," but is unable to finish. What do you think she was trying to say?
J- She probably wanted Anna to start to carry on the plan.
L- I think she wanted Anna to know that it’s starting and this is when she needs to be the strongest because seeing her sick will be hard and maybe make her back out of her decision.
S- Probably, "Tell Anna not to give up" or something to that nature.
6. On page 122, Julia says, "Even if the law says that no one is responsible for anyone else, helping someone who needs it is the right thing to do." Who understood better how to "help" Kate, Sara or Anna?
J- Anna for sure.
L- Anna. The mother was only in survival mode and was blinded by love and wouldn’t even consider thinking that maybe her daughter was ready to go.
7. Did Anna do the right thing, honoring Kate's wishes?
J- I believe so.
L- Yes, I think so. I hope that my wishes are honored when my time comes.
S- I don't think that anyone can really answer this question. All around yes she did the right thing in my opinion, for Kate and for herself. She needed that and Kate needed her to do it, I think, so she could feel less guilty about all the things Anna has given her when she can give nothing in return.
8. Do you feel it was unfair of Kate to ask Anna to refuse to donate a kidney, even though this seemed to be the only way for her to avoid the lifesaving transplant?
J- Nope, I have a feeling that I would feel like Kate does, and want it to be over. I also know that the only way Kate could get this accomplished is to use the closeness that her and Anna share to get it done.
L- Yes. It’s unfair because it’s a huge thing to ask someone. She was basically asking her sister to kill her. I don’t think I could do that.
9. On page 142, Brian says that when rescuing someone from a fire, that "the safety of the rescuer is of a higher priority than the safety of the victim. Always." How does this apply to his role in his own family?
J- Obviously, this is why he sides with Anna without asking a ton of questions, he takes her decision for face value.
L- Kate is the “victim” and Anna is the “rescuer” which is why I believe he sides with Anna.
10. On page 144, Brian says, "Like anything that's been confined, fire has a natural instinct to escape." How does this truth apply to Kate? to Brian himself?
J- Kate has been restricted for her whole life and death is considered an escape for her. Brian escapes through his work and astronomy. And even poor Anna would like to escape, despite her desire to help her sister.
L- Kate has been confined to a life of hospital visits. She wants to be let go. I think Brian feels the same way, he lives his life hospital visit to hospital visit and I think part of him is ready to let go.
11. On page 149, Brian is talking to Julia about astronomy and says, "Dark matter has a gravitational effect on other objects. You can't see it, you can't feel it, but you can watch something being pulled in its direction." How is this symbolic of Kate's illness?
J- Dark matter could be her illness and at times you could see it taking its toll on her.
L- Kate is the gravity and she is affecting the whole family and they can’t escape.
S- He is seeing Kate's disease pulling her in the direction of death. Maybe his fascination with stars has to do with the fact that we all need something bigger than ourselves to love. Something beautiful to get our mind off whatever it needs too. Maybe there isn't this big analytical answer.
12. For what reason(s) did Brian offer Anna a place to stay at the firehouse while the legal proceedings were underway?
J- I didn't read into this anymore that what was explained in the novel.
L- Read Question 9.
13. How does Anna's decision to pursue medical emancipation parallel Campbell's decision to end his relationship with Julia after his accident?
J- Each of them wants to do what they think is best for the one they love.
L- I would compare Campbell with Kate; he doesn’t want anyone to feel responsible for him anymore so to save anyone from a life of being a “carer” he makes the decision to break away. Kate doesn’t want her sister to feel responsible for her anymore. Julia is Anna but wasn’t asked.
14. Do you agree with Brian's decision not to turn Jesse in to the authorities for setting the fires?
J- Yes. I think after he had the heart to heart, it would never happen again.
L- Yes and No. No because as a firefighter he as a responsibility to protect people and his co-workers have been endangering themselves to stop these fires. On the other hand I don’t think I could turn in my own kid if I could honestly say he/she would never do it again.
15. Do you feel that it's ethical to conceive a child that meets specific genetic requirements? If not, do you believe that there should be specific exceptions, such as the purpose of saving another person's life, or is this just a "slippery slope?"
J- It is just a slippery slope. I do not believe it to be ethical to do what this family did.
L- No. It is a slippery slope, but if I was faced with a decision so save my unborn children from something deadly (not cosmetic or to save another child) I would. If there were some harmful gene that could be eliminated … but the problem is where does it stop?
S- No, a chance, never.
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