Why do I do this to myself? My favorite adult fiction author is, hands down, Jodi Picoult. I absolutely love her plots, her moral issues infused with incredible family ties. Her writing style of switching between different character perspectives throughout the novel. Her intense passion and obvious love for the subjects she chooses to write about. And her characters…boy do I love her characters. But after I read one of her books, I always feel broken. And even angry. The last two books I’ve read, Change of Heart and now Handle With Care, I’ve completed the last page and promptly thrown the book across the room, promptly evoking the following response from my husband “So you finished another one eh?” I think it is absolutely wonderful that an author can get my inner person so involved in her character’s lives that when the story is over, I NEED more. It’s no longer a want, but a need. And when something tragic happens to one of the characters (The Pact anyone…ahem…My Sister’s Keeper??) I feel broken and angry. Goodness, the emotions Jodi Picoult brings out in me are crazy!!! But I absolutely love them.
Charlotte, Sean, Amelia, and Willow O’Keefe are not the typical American family. Though Sean works for the local police department and Charlotte used to be a pastry chef, their entire world changed when their youngest daughter, Willow, came into the world. It was discovered at Charlotte’s 27 week ultrasound that Willow had a very serious disability, called Osteogenesis Imperfect, better known as brittle bone disease. Already having suffered fractures in the womb, her obstetrician and best friend, Piper, wasn’t sure if Willow would survive the birth, let alone life outside the womb, but when she does, her life is filled with broken bones and pain, but a family that loves her incredibly and fully, and will do anything it takes to get her the best resources available.
When it is brought to Charlotte and Sean’s attention that they could very well sue Charlotte’s obstetrician for not diagnosing Willow’s OI at an earlier ultrasound, thus giving the parents a choice as to whether to continue the pregnancy or not, they are both instantly against the idea. Never would they say they would have aborted their daughter, never would they say she wasn’t wanted. Once Charlotte actually thinks about it, however, the idea of money securing a comfortable future for Willow becomes a possibility and she decides she wants to sue. Problem is…she’s suing her best friend of many years…and her husband wants no part in it.
Over the next few months, the O’Keefe family begins to break into many pieces, much like Willow’s bones do. Sean and Charlotte decide they can no longer be together, Amelia begins to harm herself, in more ways than one, because it’s the only way she can feel like a free person, not tied down by her sister’s OI, Willow feels like no one wants her anymore, and Piper completely comes apart at the seams. Broken people with broken hearts, every single one of them. When a decision is finally made, the consequences must be dealt with, by each person, in their own way.
I loved the book, I love all of Jodi Picoult’s books. I think Handle with Care affected me slightly differently than most others I read, in a good way, but also in a “gotta throw the book at the wall when I’m done” way. Read it and you’ll know why.
I also got to meet Ms. Picoult at a book signing a couple of weeks ago when I was in D.C. Such a lovely, down to earth woman! Her talk was interesting and she signed my book...very cool!
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Handle with Care