Review: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don’t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they’d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of “luckier” parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it’s all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She’s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.
Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of willow’s illness? What if things could have been diffferent? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?
Willow has osteogenesis imperfecta or OI. She was born with numerous broken bones and will continue to break bones the rest of her life, sometimes just by rolling over in her bed. It was hard to imagine having a child so “breakable” and how your life would be affected by that. The story features Charlotte and Sean as the parents, Amelia, the older sister, and Willow. Then it brings in Piper, Charlotte’s best friend and Marin, the attorney. Each chapter is given the heading of one of the characters and written from their perspective. The story is written to Willow, with each character talking to her. I enjoyed this kind of chapter break up. It made it easy to follow along, but did make you wait sometimes for the result of a situation for a few chapters after going through each character involved.
I have to admit, I did not like Charlotte’s character. It was very difficult for me to get into this story because I didn’t care about the main characters and didn’t like path the story was taking. But, since I love Picoult’s books, I had to keep plugging along. Picoult won me over eventually and the story ended up gripping at my heart and causing all kinds of emotions. Picoult is known for her twists at the end and this book does NOT disappoint. I think the reader has to be prepared, especially if you are a mother, for the frustration and anger you may have while reading this story.
There are many stories inside this one book involving each individual character. Each character has their own struggles and you are anxious to get to “their chapter” to find out what is going to happen next.
I gave this 4 out of 5 stars mainly because it took me awhile to get “involved” in the story. But, the story is definately worth reading and gives you a new cause, OI, to become informed about. I have never even heard of this disease before reading this book. So, I thank Picoult for informing me about this disabling disease and making me more aware of my personal judgments toward the disabled. If you are the parent of a disabled child, my heart and prayers go out to you today.
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