Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Promises break. Hearts break.
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 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?
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love. Written with the grace and wisdom she's become famous for, beloved number-one New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult offers us an unforgettable novel about the fragility of life and the lengths we will go to protect it.
©2009 Jodi Picoult; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Being a huge Jodi P fan, I had to get this one. As a grandmother of a very bright, but physically handicapped young man, I found the story especially heart-gripping. I was afraid that this would be a court drama or a right to life battle, but it is more about the lives and feelings of all the characters as they related to not only the handicapped girl, Willow, but how they affected each other. I found it to be frankly honest in revealing all the inner feelings and reactions to the situation. As usual Jodi kept me listening and sometimes crying with her in-depth portrayals of this tragic family's life. I was, however expecting a bittersweet ending, and was kind of disappointed with this one. Get out your hankies.
I enjoyed this audiobook. I have been a big fan of her books. I am very happy that Jodi Picoult choose the subject of Osteogenesis Imprefecta since it is a misunderstood bone disease. I have a personal interest in the topic and am glad that she is increasing awareness of OI.
I absolutely loved this book and even appreciated the irony at the end of the book. The narration of the book was wonderful; enjoyed all the different characters and their telling of the story from their points of view.
One of the things Jodi Picoult does best is write with vulnerability. She has a talent for showing us characters that are alive and real. We can walk into their skins and become them. Handle With Care is no exception. We have five main characters that are all talking about the primary sixth character who goes by the name of Willow. Other reviews may indicate that the characters aren't believable. I read them and asked myself, "Are they unrealistic or do I just not like them?" For me it was the latter for the adult protagonists.
For example Charlotte, the mother. At first I liked her. But then I didn't because for all her focus on Willow, she abandoned Amelia, the older daughter. I had the same experience with Sean, Willow's father. He starts out strong but then becomes that stereotypical guy who feels threatened by any hint that he may not be able to solely support his family. He's prideful and arrogant. He, too, abandons Amelia in favor of focusing solely on Willow. That's not to say there isn't a reason for it. Willow's a special needs child with osteogenesis imperfecta.
Then there's Piper, the OB-GYN and best friend of Charlotte. This moralistic, holier-than-thou doctor practically stops living when she's sued for malpractice by Charlotte. What's she doing being Charlotte's doctor to start with? That was her big mistake. Small town or not, it's a dual role. She's the defendant in the lawsuit Charlotte brings for wrongful birth. She's like Sean. All pride and ego. She became detestable. Kissing Sean at the end was a pointless scene. Where was the editor on that one?
Enter Marin, the attorney who handles the wrongful birth case. This would have never come up had Sean not dragged everyone to the lawyer's office on another matter that hurt his pride. He had no case, but the lawyers see and seize on the wrongful birth one instead. Charlotte goes for it, although Sean doesn't join her. Marin is a lousy lawyer and I kept thinking if Charlotte lost her case, she'd have a malpractice suit against Marin who is very vocal about her personal feelings against it and allows a personal issue to interfere with how she conducts it. She's spineless.
Amelia tells part of the tale and her voice is very strong and fairly in tune with most pre-teens. She tries to get her parents' attention, to no avail. In a dysfunctional family of any type, her response is typical. It's even more likely in a family whose focus is on the child with the disability. Blue hair and all, she's the most likable. There were times when I felt her story was the only one worth reading.
By the end, we are ready for anything that brings it to a close. But Picoult doesn't deliver on the promise of the beginning. Everything was for nothing. If I had had the physical book in my hand, I would have thrown it across the room. I know Picoult can't be counted on for happy endings, but this one was ridiculous. Her foreshadowing about the end is thinly threaded throughout the book. Willow, age seven at the time the book fades to black, would know better than to do what she ended up doing. She was far too smart throughout the book to behave that way. She stepped out of the character Picoult created.
There are places in the book where it's clear Picoult has not done enough research. There are glaring errors in dialogue that bring this to light. I cringed in many places and was embarrassed for the author. The recipes throughout the novel slowed it down and were unnecessary to the plot. I felt she latched on to a fad and just threw it in for fun.
The performance of the readers was fine except for Sean. Sean's sections were read in a halting style. Each sentence felt like we were trying to pull a donkey along who didn't want to budge.
This was a lackluster book. If you are Picoult fan, you may want to read it just because she wrote it. But if you are considering reading something of hers for the first time, I'd start with a different title. Most of them are better than this one.
This novel was a great listen. It has many attributes that are relatable to everyday life and circumstances. The only disapointment was the ending. It may leave you shaking your head and wondering.......
So much of this book was implausible that it kept interfering with the few moments it shone. I must have said "You've got to be kidding" a dozen times throughout the story. Not anywhere near the caliber of 19 Minutes, by far the best book she's written.
I was so excited to discover this new title by Jodie Picoult and so disappointed by the book. I loved My Sister's Keeper and Handle with Care just seemed like the same story with a different disease. The ending should have been a shocker but having read the former title, I was not shocked, surprised or even saddened. This is the first book by Picoult that I have not enjoyed and I hope that her next effort breaks new ground. All in all....a disappointment but I did listen to the entire audiobook hoping for something new. I will keep my hopes up for the next Picoult title.
I did not like the narrator but think the story could have been good. Maybe I'll give it another try.
The male character sounded like he had a stuffy nose and it got under my skin!
As for the actual book: Maybe I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't already read My Sister's Keeper. Same format and same sort of controversial court case. The characters were all the same!!! I mean, it was even with 2 girls. Couldn't she have made the child a boy or something? Good grief.
I agree, this is very like My Sister's Keeper, and has the same infuriating ending that pretty much undercuts the whole book. This book is NOT for those who want a happy ending. I don't want to say more so that the ending isn't spoiled, but just beware if negative endings bother you.
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