Then Charlotte is offered a lifeline. She could sue her obstetrician for wrongful birth - for not having diagnosed Willow's condition early enough into the pregnancy to be able to abort the child. The payout could secure Willow's future.
But to receive it would mean Charlotte suing her best friend. And standing up in court to declare that she would have preferred that Willow had never been born...
©2009 Jodi Picoult; (P)2009 Recorded Books LLC
What can you say?
She's an idiot. He's and idiot. The kids are damaged. The mother is so not responsible for her own actions that she screws up her whole family and the entire book is an extensive exercise in self pity of the highest order, only rivaled perhaps by the Virginia Andrews volumes of the 80's. Well written no doubt but beyond self indulgent.
I'm sure most people wouldn't be nearly as irate as me while listening to this: You see, I have osteogenesis imperfecta, just like Willow in the book.
I was expecting to be angry at the parents for bringing the lawsuit but actually that element of the story was told well enough for me to have a little sympathy for the mother. I was also expecting the characterisation of Willow to be pathetic and for the reader to be expected to look at her through patronising eyes. I was incredibly surprised that she reminded me so much of myself at her age.
But then there were the bad facts like the claim that only babies with type 2 or 3 OI are born with broken bones. The most jaw dropping bad fact of them all was the sentence which claims the bones in the forearm are the tibia and fibula!
The fact that the producers of the audiobook didn't research the correct pronunciation of medical words like 'pamidronate' and 'bisphosphonates' was also incredibly grating.
Like I said, the book wasn't all bad and it wasn't as disappointing as I expected in the areas I expected it to be disappointing. Ultimately it left me feeling glad to be British: We have an NHS so us British folk with OI don't need to worry about medical bills. The NHS has a wheelchair service so kids like Willow aren't at the age of 6 still having to use the wheelchair they were prescribed when they were 2 and half the size they are now. We have Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to cover some of the extra costs of being disabled. We have the Motability scheme which allows you to forfeit the mobility component of your DLA in exchange for a car. All these things we have in the UK are what the family in the book needed and didn't have so they brought the court case to cover those costs. That it left me with such a strong feeling of being glad to live where I do means that the storytelling was effective. Bad facts not withstanding...
"An epic and thought-provoking story"
This is the third Jodi Picoult book I've listened to and every one of them has presented the listener with what it might be like to be presented with a life-changing event or moral dilemma. In this book Charlotte and Shaun O'Keffe's longed for baby girl, Willow, turns out to have a severe, but not lethal, form of brittle-bone disease. Her protection and care dominates family life to the detriment of her older sister Amelia. The author is adept at illustrating how the disabled child's presence, through no fault of her own, affects the parent's relationship with each other and makes the healthy sibling feel neglected. Things come to a head when Charlotte decides to bring a 'wrongful birth' law suit to try and get financial security for her disabled daughter: an action that splits the family and introduces a parallel emotional story involving Charlotte's attorney.
In the story Charlotte was a high-class pastry chef before Willow's birth and the author uses recipes as metaphors for people's experience and feelings: a device that works less well in audio book as the detailed descriptions of how to make, say meringues, becomes tedious.
The story is enhanced by having different voices play the various characters, which makes them seem more real.
"You won't want to stop listening"
Jodi Picoult perfectly captures the challenging, moral and ethical dilemmas that ordinary people often face. This book is one of her best, and demonstrates the unenviable positions people find themselves in, and the unintended consequences that arise from making decisions that are done with the best of intent. Showing a great insight into the lives of a family where there is a disabled member, and the impact on all of their lives, this is a enthralling and moving book. Would definately recommend.
"Handle with care- Jodi Picoult"
What a book! Super great Jodi as usual. The story grips you from the beginning. Story line is super, the narrating is superb.
Can't recommend it enough. Can't wait for another.
"A slightly depressing read,"
I'm 13 and found this book an ok read, the end was depressing but based on the other books of hers I've read, it's only to be expected! The narrators are good and the chapter changes flow well and over all, I would recommend this book to someone, as long as they had a box of tissues nearby!
Great book and I really enjoyed it. Jodi Picoult excels at writing books which really make you think and ask 'What would I do?'.
The narration was really great and having several narrators really makes a difference to the impact of the story.
I loved this story. Jodi uses a selection of the characters to narrate the story, so you get a range of view points. Controversial topics, and really made me question beliefs I thought I held strong. At some points I was shouting at my iPod (in the car, not in public) because so emotive!
"Get your Prozac out"
This is another downer from J Picolt, but as long as you don't mind feeling blue, it is worth a listen. A family are struggling to cope - financially and emotionally - with their youngest daughter's brittle bone disease. A lawyer offers them representation as long as they vow on the stand, that, had they known their daughter would suffer from the illness, they would have carried out an abortion. Sometimes difficult to listen to.
A difficult but beautifully written book. Heart wrenching at times. Great narration and performance. Read it.
This was beautifully written and the multiple narrators were perfect for their parts. It was so sad that I was haunted by it for days and although I'm glad I listened to it I'm not sure I'll be strong enough to face another Jodi Picoult for a while.
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