Review: Handle With Care
Handle With Care
Author: Jodi Picoult
Number of pages: 477
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 consumed by 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 had known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? 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? - from the back book cover
This was the most depressing book I've ever read. It took me like a month to read this because it was so incredibly sad all the time that I couldn't read it for very long periods of time.
The back book cover doesn't really do the summary much justice so here it is: Willow is born with a disease that causes her to have extremely fragile bones that can break at any second. A sneeze can cause her to break an arm. The family takes a trip to Disney World where Willow ends up breaking her leg when she slips on a napkin in a restaurant and falls. After experiencing rude treatment at the hospital where they take her, Willow's father, who is a police officer, tries to sue but the lawyers tell him that there's nothing valid for him to sue over. He can, however, sue for something called wrongful birth which basically states if Willow's parents had known that she would be born with this disease, they could have made the choice to get an abortion. The dad gets all offended and says heck no I'm not doing that but the mom, who spends 24-7 taking care of Willow, decides she wants to go through with it. The twist? Her OB is also her best friend of nine years and the woman who introduced her to her husband.
To make a long story short, there's all kinds of other underlying drama - the lawyer that Willow's mom hires is trying to find her own birth mother who ultimately rejects her; the dad files for divorce because he can't believe the mom is going through this; Willow's older sister develops an eating disorder.
I know, I know! Why the heck did I stick with this book for so long? I read "The Other Sister", the only other Jodi Picoult book I've read, and it was LE. GIT. It was fascinating and really kept my interest and there was a twist at the end that brought me to tears. It was an incredible book.
So needless to say I have no idea why this book was so disappointing. It dragged on for so long and I think it had too much medical talk when discussing Willow's disease not to mention the trial chapters also went on for forever. And NOTHING remotely happy happened in the book. It was just a lot of the same thing over and over again: too many trips with Willow to the hospital after she suffered a break, too many arguments between the parents over whether or not to carry out the lawsuit, too much of them trying to hide it from Willow. It just kept going back and forth. And like I said, nothing happy. It was brutal.
So I'm sorry, I can't recommend this one. I am not quite ready to give up on Jodi Picoult yet but it's going to be a little while before I pick up another one of her books.
Final Rating: 1/5
Coming Up Next: "Love the One You're With" by Emily Giffin (I need something chick-litty after this one)