Synopsis in a Sentence: A family struggles with raising their daughter who has osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
My Thoughts: First of all, I want to commend Jodi Picoult for her plethora of novels about compelling and controversial issues. It's pretty amazing how she can take a touchy issue and weave a whole family and legal drama around it. However, having said that, I wasn't actually thrilled by Handle with Care. I think the biggest reason is that it was so similar to her other novel, My Sister's Keeper, except it wasn't as well written as that book was.
The story is told from various points of view: the mother, father, older sister, as well as sections by the doctor who delivered the girl and the lawyer who is put on this case. The girl's name is Willow and this is a nice twist, due to the fact that willow trees bend with the wind and storms instead of breaking and falling as sometimes other trees do. Willow has brittle bone disease which was very interesting to learn about as I had never really heard about this condition before. It is characterized (as we find out in the novel) by bones breaking in the body at the slightest accident or fall, although their are various stages of severity.
Jodi Picoult builds a story around the fact that the OB doctor who delivered Willow (who also happens to be Willow's mother's best friend), should have discovered Willow's condition while she was still in the womb and given the parents the choice on whether or not to keep their baby. The fact that she didn't catch the likelihood of them having an "abnormal" baby, has led Willow's parents to lead an incredibly stressful life, devoted almost entirely to the caretaking of their daughter. Meanwhile, their other daughter feels completely alone and hardly ever receives her parent's attention.
I guess I found it a little bit unlikely that a legal case like this could have become such a big drama as Picoult portrays it in the novel, but it does make for a fast paced read. However, the marital tension that arises between Willow's parents is both understandable and realistic as they navigate the incredible difficulty of raising a daughter with special needs.
As a former special ed teacher, I would recommend this book to teachers and parents of children with special needs as I think they would find a lot to relate to in this book! If you had to choose though, I would definitely pick My Sister's Keeper over this slightly mediocre novel.
What I liked most: Reading about Willow's humor and strength as she struggles with her disease makes you think about and admire what people with disabilities go through on a daily basis. It reminds you that your health is worth taking care of and one of the most important things in life.
What I liked least: Picoult puts her signature startling twist at the end of the book, but in this one, it just doesn't seem like it works...kinda feels forced, like she was going for shock effect instead of a satisfying or plausible ending.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Posted by Rebecca at 1:06 PM