Saturday, October 1, 2016

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

From the Back Cover:

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, 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?

My Thoughts:

I probably would not have picked up this book on my own, but since it was the "required reading" for our local book club this month, I bought the paperback and started in.  Around 10 pages into the book, I had to put it down.  It was depressing.  Very depressing.  I later picked up the book again, forcing myself to give it another shot.  Nope.  I went from sad and depressed to angry and frustrated.  Not the emotions I enjoy from a book.  Since I could not force myself to pick the book up again, I bought the audio version of the book.  Sometimes listening to a book while doing the laundry or driving to the bank allows me to get the story without getting too deeply "involved".  I must say that the narrators for the Audible version of this book were outstanding, with different narrators for the different characters in the book.

Jodi Picoult is an extremely talented writer, and this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but somehow it missed the mark for me.  This is a story about a family's struggle after their newborn baby girl is born with a genetic birth defect known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI).  This is a condition where the child's bones are brittle, so brittle that they break with the slightest impact from a fall, bumping into a table, or even a hug.  Mounting medical bills and the need for special equipment cause financial problems and Charlotte, the mother, ends up filing a "wrongful birth" lawsuit against her obstetrician (who happens to be her best friend) for not discovering this condition and giving Charlotte and her husband Sean the option to abort the fetus.  Religious aspects (Charlotte and Sean are catholic) and moral decisions tear this family apart.  Part of the ending was predictable and the other part was not believable and made no sense whatsoever.

I'm sure there are many who do not agree with my rating of this book.  But I need to be honest with my humble opinion.

My Rating:


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