Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Handle With Care

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult is the newest of Picoult's work, and the book I stayed up late reading last night. I have read different reviews of this book, and a few friends have read it already. I am anxious to discuss it with them a bit more now that I am finished, but they have shared with me some very basic ideas that I would agree with.
First of all, the story is told by various narrators: Amelia, Sean, Charlotte, Piper, and Marin. Charlotte and Sean have two daughters, Amelia a teenager, and Willow, who is six and suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Charlotte's best friend, Piper, was also her ob/gyn and the person who read the ultrasound when Charlotte was pregnant with Willow. Six years have passed and Willow has broken many bones in her short life. Charlotte and Sean have struggled financially and emotionally in caring for their disabled child and Amelia has often felt neglected. When the opportunity arises for them to file a wrongful birth lawsuit, Charlotte is persuaded - not because she wishes Willow had never been born, but because she loves her so much that she wishes for her to have some security in her life, something that could happen if she won a huge amount of money in a lawsuit. Piper is stunned when her best friend sues her for wrongful birth and much of the book is devoted to the aftermath of this decision. Marin Gates, who narrates chapters in this book is Charlotte's attorney. She had been given up for adoption as an infant, and despite a loving relationship with her adoptive family longs to know her birth mother. This personal struggle she is having also puts her at odds with representing Charlotte, as she is thankful her birth mother never had the opportunity to decide if she did not want to even give birth to Marin.
In true Picoult fashion this book contains a twist at the end. I agree with my friend, Kristin, who commented that the twist was unnecessary - and perhaps only written in because that is Picoult's style. There were several other issues I (and the others who read this that I know) had - the lack of involvement or awareness of Amelia and her problems seemed somewhat unrealistic, as did the whole premise of the lawsuit. Picoult loves a moral dilemma, and she has delivered it once again in Handle With Care. My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes still stand as my two favorites, and despite my criticism of this book, I did enjoy it, and she did keep me reading anxiously until the very end.

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