Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

handlewithcareThis is my first book written by Jodi Picoult – my mother’s favorite writer, but actually I had done light reading on some of Picoult’s books. This book was a wonderful book for a starter, like me. Though the book is thick, advanced, and hard enough like Dicken’s book, with crammed words, I understand everything the book is trying to say. Like every one of Picoult’s books, it is told from different perspective, and for me, each perspective is right for every character in the story.

Willow is a young girl suffering from OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), type 3, a congenital bone disorder characterized by brittle bones that are prone to fracture. People with OI are born with defective connective tissue (or without the ability to make it) usually because of a deficiency of collagen. She has a half  teenage sister, named Amelia, a policeman father, Sean and Charlotte, her mother who would move heaven and earth just to make her happy.

The story opens with the situation that the whole family want to go to Disneyland. Everything is ready and packed, but alas, Amelia forgets to bring the doctor’s note. On the first day in the amusement park, Willow falls down and breaks one of her legs. The family is accused of child abuse when she is wheeled of to the hospital. When they drive back home, after many phone calls, to their normal doctor, who confirms that Willow has OI and does not have broken bones due to child abuse, Charlotte and Sean go to the lawyer to inquire the lawsuits about the park.

Marin Gates is their lawyer, who is actually adopted. What she wants most of all is to meet her birth mother, who is unknown to her and everyone. Marin reveals a different possibility: A wrongful birth, and they will have to sue the OB/GYN that treated Charlotte when she was pregnant with Willow. This means, they are going to sue Piper, Charlotte’s OB/GYN and also Charlotte’s best friend.

After that, things start to turn upside down. Amelia develops bulimia, a feeling of self-hatred, Charlotte and Sean are breaking up, Amelia stops talking to her best friend Emma, who is Piper’s daugther, and Piper’s and Charlotte’s friendship detoriates. It’s the story that has a knotty tangle of friendship, family, self-exploration, and life morality. The story is contemporary, heart-wrenching and full of plot twists. Like Picoult’s main story all the time, the major question is always realistic: how do you define life and love, to make a good choice for everyone?

To be honest, the book is quite depressing, exploring the drama in the family. I am torn between the reality and the moral issues, between love and practicality, with both sides together yet separate. Though it’s difficult to explain about the moral dilemma in the book (because there’s no easy answer), I think it’s insightful and thought-provoking. I like the different viewpoints as Picoult shows the problems by switching narrators for each chapter. It is always interesting to see how the same event can have so many varied reactions from others.

Here is the quote that I like the best: “Things break all the time. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Promises break. Hearts break.” It’s so bittersweet. The story has given me the inspiration to read more of Picoult’s books and review it here. Jodi Picoult (born May 19) is an American Author, and was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for fiction in 2003. She has written many novels, with specialized in questioninig the moral issues in our lives.



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