Thursday, 18 August 2011

Review of The Donor by Helen FitzGerald

** What it's about **

Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His daughters aren't so lucky. Question is: which one should he save?

Will's 47. His wife bailed out when the twins were in nappies and hasn't been seen since. He coped OK by himself at first, giving Georgie and Kay all the love he could, working in a boring admin job to support them.

Just after the twins turn sixteen, Georgie suffers kidney failure and is placed on dialysis. Her type is rare, and Will immediately offers to donate an organ. Without a transplant, she would probably never see adulthood. So far so good.

But then Kay gets sick. She's also sixteen. Just as precious. Her kidney type just as rare. Time is critical, and he has to make a decision.

Should he buy a kidney - be an organ tourist? Should he save one child? If so, which one? Should he sacrifice himself? Or is there a fourth solution - one so terrible it has never even crossed his mind?

** What I thought **

This book focuses on two twins, who are very different in themselves and their relationship with their father, who has brought them up single-handed. 
When I opened this book and read the first chapter, my first reaction was “What?! You can’t tell me that on Page 1!” I have to say I was confused and I thought that the whole storyline had been given away in the first few pages.  I am pleased to say I was wrong, there is a twist and it’s a twist that I didn’t guess (although now I know it, it is kind of blindingly obvious!).  I didn’t find the book predictable, and I had no idea how this was going to pan out until I was specifically told!
The story develops well over the chapters, and throughout the book we learn about the characters past as well as their present.  The book also has varying chapters from different characters’ perspective (Will and Georgie, one of the twins) which I have grown to enjoy and I think it brings out the best in a story. The interactions and relationships between the characters are brought out very well, and the sibling rivalry is well-documented.
I wasn’t blown away by it, and it wasn’t as heart-breaking as I had expected it to be but it was a good read and I did enjoy it.  Despite the bleak subject matter, it is actually a relatively light read.  I enjoyed it as a holiday read.

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