The O’Keefe family is breaking. Reader’s can feel their hearts breaking and aching along with the O’Keefe family in Jodi Picoult’s newest novel Handle with Care. With each bone Williow O’Keefe breaks, readers experience her pain too.
You see, Williow was born with Osteogenesis imperfect (or as it’s more commonly known as, brittle bone disease). Over the course of her lifetime she could break hundreds of bones. Through Williow, Picoult creates a vivacious, fun-loving character who braves her five-year-old smile through all her breaks, despite her family’s mounting and ever increasing hospital bills.
But watching your daughter grow up with such a rare disorder is no picnic. Nestled down in the bottom of Charlotte O’Keefe’s heart is the undying urge to protect her fragile daughter. It isn’t until a lawyer discovers the family has a plausible grounds to file a wrongful birth lawsuit, that Charlotte realizes she can do something to help her daughter become comfortable. If not physically, then maybe financially.
With a wrongful birth lawsuit filed, Charlotte has to pretend that had she known earlier in her pregnancy that Williow would be born with OI that she would have terminated the birth. There’s just one problem, filing the suit means she’d have to sue her best friend, Piper Reece.
Picoult has written another page-turner. Readers are flooded with a wide realm of emotions. One can’t help but collapse with a heavy heart as you watch the characters spiral out of control.
In terms of qualifying this as a Picoult novel, all of the proper elements are there: intriguing ethical dilemmas, emotional lawsuits and engrossing adventures. I consider Handle with Care a must read for anyone who considers him or herself a devoted Picoult fan. I simply wish Picoult had take the time to spare me at least 20 more pages to tie up some loose ends. By the end of the book I think I was as unhappy as the characters … if not more. Following the closing verdict of the trial, Picoult quickly cops out with a quick ending, offering readers no sense of closure. She neglects to update us on how her characters are coping post trial. We spend 400 plus pages investing ourselves in the characters only for Picoult to walk away with so many unanswered questions. It seemed that Picoult was stuck in a rut and didn’t know how to write her way out of the complex and depressing web of a story she created.
At least Picoult isn’t facilitating the belief that happy endings do exist. I guess you could say maybe she simply was trying to be realistic? But then, why read FICTION for the reality effect?
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