Monday, March 16, 2009

While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

What if a family member falls seriously ill and has to be put on life support? What if she hasn't left a living will? Maybe you remember the case of Terri Schiavo, who was on life support for 15 years while her husband and parents fought in the courts. I hope that anyone who watched that got a living will. While My Sister Sleeps deals with some of the issues that the Schiavo case did.

Molly Snow is the youngest in her family. Her older sister, Robin, is a well-known runner who is vying for the Olympics and Molly has always felt like she was in her shadow. One day while running, Robin suffers a heart attack and slips into a coma (this occurs very early in the book, I'm not giving away anything here). The family is devastated but everyone handles their emotions in a very different way while dealing with the many issues of a having a family member in a coma who has not left a living will.

There are many other complicating issues, not the least of which is the family business that must be kept going, marital problems, favoritism, all of these come into play.

I was captured by the book from the beginning and could hardly stand to leave it alone. I found it to be well-written and interesting and very clean, probably one of the cleanest adult fiction books I have read since starting this blog, but it is adult fiction, because of the subject matter.
It was such a relief to find this book! This is exactly the sort of book that I have been searching for with this blog.
I felt that she got distracted from the main story at times, and when she did the story would slow down, but overall I really enjoyed the book!

We do find out some surprises, and I won't go into detail, but there are 2 premarital affairs that we learn about. What I like about how the author handled the affairs, is that the people involved regret their choices. We are shown some of the problems that occur with sex outside of marriage. The mother even preaches to her children to be abstinate before marriage. There is very little other than the affairs that could be considered objectionable, and she doesn't go into details with those.
I think that this would be a good book for book clubs. Discussion questions can be found at

Rated PG for the affairs and a few minor swear words.

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