Thursday, 27 October 2011

Handle With Care - Jodi Picoult (2009)

I have a considerable stack of books that I plan to read. But I saw this, remembered how much I loved it and wanted to read it again. I bought it in 2009 for a long plane trip and read it twice on said trip. I don't care what other people think, I am a hardcore Jodi Picoult fan (for instance, my co-blogger is not a fan of this book.) She writes about situations where I couldn't imagine what decision I would make. This book is written from multiple points of view; the mother, the father, the sister, the doctor and switches every chapter. It is written to the main character, Willow, who writes the last chapter.

This is one of my favourite books and hands-down my favourite Picoult book. I love all the medical and legal jargon. The main charter Willow loves random facts and spouts them off throughout the novel. The mum, Piper, used to be a pastry, and her chapters start with a recipe and baking technique (like; weeping, proving and blind-baking) that relates to what she's going through that chapter. Despite the constant narration changes, the story is seamless and left me staring into space thinking about it once I turned the last page.

Willow O'Keefe has osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease.This means that she will break bones hundreds of time in her lifetime and have other various medical complications. Despite this, she is a smart, funny, lively six year-old. Unfortunately the medical bills are crippling her family. When a family trip to Disney World goes wrong, and Willow's healing fractures lead foreign doctors to suspect child abuse, Willow's parents - Sean and Piper - are pushed to breaking point. Sean wants to sue Disney World, but the lawyers suggest a wrongful birth lawsuit against their obstetrician. The case is that a ultrasound showed signs of osteogenesis imperfects which the doctor disregarded and did not proceed to counsel aborting. Only problem is, the obstetrician is Piper's best friend. A gruelling court case means that Piper has to testify that she wished that Willow had never been born. Sean drops out of the case, and files for divorce. Amelia, her other daughter, is struggling with her own life. She is a bulimic who starts to cut herself. Willow sees her doing this and copies, which almost leads to her death. The O'Keefe's manage to win the civil suit - with awards of $8 million. Amelia's disorder is uncovered and she is sent to therapy and uses art as an outlet. Sean and Piper reconcile. The cheque remains stuck to the fridge, but money is no longer an issue, as they know there is a backup. One day, Willow goes outside out and walks across their skating pond, she falls through the ice and can't yell for help through the pain of broken bones and drowns. The cheque for the damages is buried with her.


  1. The book gives a strong message of realizing what is most important in life and realizing you can do anything no matter your situation. I loved the way the Author gave the theme of the story. She put it through the characters actions, over putting it in their diction which made it more powerful because you could see the events and changes happening which proved that the message was being portrayed. I loved the story line and thought it was a very real and true subject that people go through today in our world. The one thing I did dislike about the book, was that some characters, like Amelia O'Keefe did not get as much attention or a big enough part in the story. I would of loved to hear more from her point of view because she is young and I can relate to her and connect to how she was feeling on a certain level.

    1. I love this book as well, despite its sadness. I did like Amelia too, but I thought we heard quite a lot from her. I wanted to hear more from Willow.