In which My Sister's Keeper makes me cry. Properly, actually cry.

I have to confess to actually rather liking Jodi Picoult, she is my guilty secret, and her novels make up the majority of the ‘P’ section of my bookshelf.

My Sister’s Keeper was the second of her novels I read, the first being The Pact. It’s not one of the best. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I still maintain she has written much better. Second Glance for one….

My Sister’s Keeper is absorbing, it’s funny and it’s moving and it asks some very pertinent questions; how far should a family go to save a child? What if that means infringing on both the rights and the welfare of another? The situations Picoult has created are imaginable, the characters very real , the ethical dilemma makes for a compelling story and the twist at the end almost reduced me to tears BUT it is also overly sentimental, in the same way that The Lovely Bones is overly sentimental (I hate that book); contrived to cause tears and therefore rather lacking in subtlety. I have heard of people weeping at the book. I did not. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a heart of stone and the shock and force of the ending left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye but the emotion throughout seemed a little obvious.

Last night I went to see the film adaptation. ***spoiler alert***

I was expecting it to be sad – for all it’s sentimentality it is a pretty harrowing subject matter and I knew that ending was going to be hard to watch on the big screen. I knew I’d cry. I knew Kez and Helen would cry. I was prepared. Or so I thought…..

Did I enjoy it? Well, I suppose if I was some kind of masochist then I would say yes, I did. As it is I don’t know if it is really prudent to use the word ‘enjoy’ to describe a film that had me welling up from the word go and crying so hard I had tears pouring down my face and dripping on to my chest. This film is sad, and it doesn’t let up for a second. It’s not an emotional rollercoaster; it’s an emotional slide. It starts off horrifically sad and it gets worse. Even I, secure in my knowledge that Kate is alright in the end sobbed my heart out watching her and her family deal with discovering she is terminal and watching her health disintegrate; the love story with Taylor, her relationship with Jesse and Anna, the ‘final’ trip to the beach, Sara’s battle to save her little girl, the effect it had on each member of the family and their relationships with each other, it was all just utterly heart-wrenching. The last time I cried like that was when somebody actually died. Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of Sara was incredible, and I related so much more with her in the film than I ever did in the book; she seemed almost cold in the book and thus aggravated the hell out of me but watching that film she became human and I felt for her; her desperation was palpable. It was a very well done yet still somehow terrible film. I shall not be watching it again. I shall not be recommending it to anybody, and I shall no doubt be spending the rest of the day feeling like I do now; like I have been through massive emotional hell.

I knew I’d cry. I did not know I’d have to hold in the body wracking sobs. & my almost cocky assurance that I knew just how sad this film was going to be blew up in my face; I was not prepared because the film is not the story I knew, Campbell is made into an almost unnecessary character and Julia is completely written out, Anna is eleven (I am sure she is thirteen in the book?) and the ending, well, it couldn’t stray further from the book if it tried.

How do they compare? Well, this is strange for me, because I am usually overflowing with indignance after going to watch the film adaptation of a book I have loved. I find itvery hard to watch a film for itself, I can't help but nitpick, and it is so very very rare that a film ever comes close to what exsists in my mind. This time though it was different. I didn't compare, probably because I was too busy crying, and I have not come away being angry at the discrepancies. Shocked? Yes. Wrongfooted? Yes? Confused? A little. But angry? No. I really do feel that My Sister's Keeper works well as a film, as a seperate entity to the book, just don't ever watch it.

And on a totally seperate note I finally saw the trailer for The Time Traveler's Wife on the big screen. It bugged me when I saw it on You Tube but oh dear. I think they may well have totally ruined a really incredible book; that trailer nearly made me cry, and not in the way it should have. That isn't Henry, and that is certainly not Clare and all of it, every single thing I saw in those couple of minutes is totally and utterly wrong. This story is not some chick lit rom com romp, it is a wonderfully clever, well crafted beautiful love story and some stupid film people have taken it and destroyed it. It deserved so much more :(

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