The end...until further notice (Picoult novel rewritten for film)

When Jodi Picoult's 12-year-old son Kyle picked up his mom's novel My Sister's Keeper, he was immediately engrossed in it.

"The day he finished the book, I found him weeping on the couch," Picoult said in an interview. "He pushed me away and went up to his room and told me that he really didn't want to see me or talk to me for a while - he was THAT upset."

The shocker ending of the novel evoked a lot of response, ranging from throw-the-book-across-the-room outrage to quiet Kleenex-plucking reflection. But you won't know it from the film starring Cameron Diaz as the mom who has a baby to create a bone marrow match for a daughter with leukemia, and Abigail Breslin as the baby who grows into a teenager and doesn't want to donate a kidney to her big sister. According to an article in USA Today, :
Picoult hasn't seen the movie but has read the script: "Having the ending changed would certainly not have been my choice. I wrote the ending very intentionally because I wanted to leave the reader with a certain message. And changing that ending changes that message. However, I am excited to see the movie and to judge it on its strengths."

One hardcore Picoult fan, 16-year-old Lauren Kobren of Jericho, N.Y., started a "Save My Sister's Keeper!!" group on Facebook.

"For anyone who has finished the book," says Kobren, "I think most of us can agree that the ending is most of the reason that we literally throw the book at our friends and demand that they read it!" So far 1,655 readers agree.

When asked why she chose the ending she did, Picoult tells book clubbers (who probably come to blows over the complex issues of MSK): "This isn't an easy book, and you know from the first page, that there are no easy answers."

We'll have to wait until June to see how this ends...but I'm pretty sure I already know.



Suzan Harden said…
Hollywood has always had a problem with (a) keeping a book's integrity during adaptation and (b) making anything that doesn't have the proverbial HEA.

I love Piccoult's class in dealing with the question of the ending. Much better than Tom Clancy's temper tantrum when Hollywood changed the ending of Patriot Games.
I'm reminded of that movie ADAPTATION, where the ending of this serious (but unadaptable) novel goes increasingly Hollywood. Hilarious, if you're a writer. Not sure how well it played to other folk.

Picoult is smart to just back off and let it be, as an interested observer. Once an author's sold those rights, he/she has given up the sort of control most novelists have. (Some may disagree, what with editorial and marketing pressures, but compared to screenwriters and playwrights, novelists are the kings and queens of their own kingdoms.)
Joni Rodgers said…
Suzan, you're right, and I wish I'd mentioned in my post -- Jodi Picoult is a class act, and she handled this very graciously. According to the facebook thing, she was a lot more upset than she lets on here. (Not that I believe everything I see on facebook, but that would be understandable.)

We may have to explore this further next week. I'd love to do another post featuring reactions from y'all out there. Speak on up.

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