The novel follows, in a roughly temporal manner with flashbacks, the evolution of the illness of a child afflicted with promyelocytic leukemia and her family's attempt to save her. At core is the issue of conceiving a child with the hope that she (Anna) will be able to provide what her older, ill sister (Kate) needs to survive. The initial need is met by cord blood transfusion, however, as time passes, Kate relapses, and technology makes new demands on the obligatory donor.

Eventually Anna, at age 13, requests emancipation from the health care control of her beleaguered parents. The reader is introduced to the dilemma as the adolescent donor seeks legal help. Over the course of the novel, which is structured with a revolving first person viewpoint, the reader becomes acquainted with the personal perspectives of many characters, but with no warning of the ultimate outcome of the family drama.


This story is skillfully written and compelling enough to sustain interest in the characters and their interrelationships, despite the fact that some of the subplots seem to be contrived for the sake of dramatic interest and are not intrinsic to the central problem of the story. Well defined are the many facets of parenting, of making difficult choices for minors where there are conflicts of interest, of the blinders families and their caregivers must sometimes wear in order to face very difficult moral problems. For the reader interested in this particular dilemma--the choices that are now offered in the management of previously uniformly fatal diseases--this novel presents a series of moral, ethical, and legal issues that those working with these diseases and the people they affect may expect to encounter.



Place Published

New York



Page Count