Photo: Anya Ogilvie and Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander
Dear Jodi Picoult,
Your book, My Sister's Keeper was the very first book I really got into and could relate to. My mom was diagnosed with cancer, and when this happen I wanted to read every book about cancer so I could get clued in. Your book was a book I just planned on reading in the waiting room during my mom's appointments, but it was so much more than that. When I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Your novel was just so powerful.
I read each chapter, over and over again, analyzing how strong Anna had to be for her sister. No matter what, Anna kept strong and fighting for her and her sister. This made me think about how hard having cancer could be. I opened my eyes outside my own little world and thought, I need to help my mom.
I went with my mom almost every time I could go to the hospital just as Anna did for Kate. I was holding my mom's hand through her hardest days, just as Anna did for Kate. I learned to deal with my mom’s tears, which was hard because it showed me the real pain she was going through. Anna also had to be there with her sister, her role model, every step of the way, no matter how hard Kate cried.
The part of your writing that really touched me was how I could relate to Kate having cancer since she was little. My mom had this virus in her since her late 20's, and finally it turned into cancer. When I read your book, I sometimes felt like you were writing it for me and my family. Like you were some angel watching over me, and writing down a modified version of my life. The months my mom had cancer really scared me, just as Kate's cancer scared Anna, and your book helped me get through it.
Your novel also helped me dealing with death. We all experience death at some point in our lives, whether it's your sister, mom, dog, grandpa. It happens, and that's not something we can control. Every night before I went to bed, I was reminded of that people you love and care about cant leave your life if they haven't taught you everything they were brought to this world to teach, My mom told me, "Death isn't a bad thing, but a new beginning." Those words were similar to the words Kate had said to Anna as the talked about death.
My Sister's Keeper taught me that you really have to just live you life, because you only have one. Life is a gift, and you really have to enjoy every breath god gives you because at any moment in your life, something could happen to you or someone you love. Your book really taught me to watch what I say to people. I couldn't live with myself if my last words to someone were rude or hurtful.
You book was very moving. It was so powerful. It helped me get through probably the hardest time in my whole life. It taught me to be a strong person emotionally. Your book really opened my eyes to a new side of me that I didn't know existed. Thank you so much for riding such a wonderful novel. I can't explain how much it means to me. It really changed my life. Thank you Mrs. Picoult.