Sunday, March 22, 2009

Handle with Care review (sorry about the weird formatting)

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.


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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!

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.

Handle with Care
Jodi Picoult
496 pages
Adult fiction
Atria Books
9780743296410
March 2009

12 comments:

trish said...

Oh, I definitely want to read Handle With Care (so I didn't read your spoiler). The Pact disturbed me in a number of ways, but that's what I like about Picoult. Nothing's black and white. Makes for lots to think about!

Staci said...

I literally just finished this book 6 hours ago and the ending made me as mad as you were!! I'm sure that there will be a lot of good discussions going on about the moral and ethical questions her book has raised. That's one of the many reasons why I love her writing!!

Anna said...

I've had my eye on this one, and now I know I want to read it. I like that Picoult's books explore the shades of gray.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Kim said...

I love Jodi Picoult and thoroughly enjoyed Change of Heart. Can't wait to get my hands on Handle with Care, thanks for the review!

Barb said...
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Barb said...
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Barb said...

The ending was contrived!! Why does Jodi feel that she always has to leave her readers with a sucker punch ending?
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When she left the 8 million dollar cheque on the fridge I couldn't help but think "Haven't I seen this on Grey's Anatomy before?"(Remember Izzy and her 8 million dollar cheque from her fiance's will that SHE left on the fridge?)

And was it REALLY necessary for Willow to have to die in the end?

Doris said...

I just finished this book and what a disapointment. None of the people were likable and the plot seemed very contrived. Talk about a bummer, what an ending. I loved "Nineteen Minutes" and most of her other books. Not so much this one.

Amanda said...

I was a bit bummed about the ending, yes...I didn't think those last few pages were necessary, hence the throwing of the book across the room. That being said, we really can't attack Picoult for that, it's her style of writing. She likes to put that sucker punch in the end... who can blame her? She has millions of readers!

Joanna said...

I just finished it today, and I must say I was fairly disappointed with the ending... There just didn't seem much point to it, although it "tied the ending together", but not in a way I would have liked. I received several of her books for xmas, the only ones left I hadn't read, and I liked most of them. This one has been the only one so far to leave me thinking "hmmm..." at the end, and in an annoyed way....

Jourdan Porter said...

I just finished this book like 10 minutes ago. I am only 14...but Jodi Picoult is by far my favorite author...I just dont understand why she had to end it this way. there was absolutely no point in WIllow's death. Plus, as if that werent bad enough..it wasnt in the little 'conversation with the author' segment. I am thoroughly unhappy with this book.

Anonymous said...

I have read My Sister's Keeper before I read Handle With Care. I was so excited when I found that book, because I thought, even though My Sister's Keeper was sad, it was brilliant. And when I started to read Handle With Care, I thought it was very nice... Until I read the ending. It made me furious. Why do all kid's have to die in Jodie Picoult's books?! Even though I'm 14, I understand what was going on, but the ending of that book was a bit off and it made me really mad. I still like the way Jodi Picoult writes, but I don't understand why Willow had to die.