Books

HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Cassandra Morris, Charlotte Perry, Alma Cuervo, Celeste Ciulla, Jessica Almasy and Jim Colby.

Along with THE PLAIN TRUTH, PICTURE PERFECT, and NINETEEN MINUTES, this novel has become one of my favorite Jodi Picoult novels.

Jodi Picoult’s 17th novel examines what happens when a family with a modest income has a severely disabled child with OI aka Osteogenesis Imperfecta, known in Britain as “Brittle Bone Disease.”

True to form, Ms. Picoult has picked a provocative topic to write about. What if you have a child who is so severely disabled that you (a cop and a pastry chef) cannot support her on the income you make?

What do you do when you’ve maxed out your credit cards, taken on a second mortgage, and have another (healthy child) to think about? Do you raid her college fund too?

What would you do to save your family from bankruptcy? Would you launch a “wrongful birth” suit? How would you explain this to your children?

When Charlotte O’Keefe, the mother of severely disabled 5-year-old Willow launches a “wrongful birth” suit, HANDLE WITH CARE turns into one of Ms. Picoult’s courtroom dramas.

Michaela Davert, 22 years old at the time this picture was taken has Type 3 OI, the exact same type as Willow O’Keefe. With this condition, the body does produce enough collagen but it is of poor quality, causing multiple bone breaks, scoliosis, and other health problems throughout life.

As in many of her other novels (SONGS OF A HUMPBACK WHALE, MY SISTER’S KEEPER, CHANGE OF HEART and HOUSE RULES) Ms. Picoult deploys a narrative style in which various characters take turns narrating the story, thus providing the reader with their perceptions of what is happening as the story unfolds.

Unlike these novels, however, Ms. Picoult makes very clever use of the second person, so that all of these characters address themselves to Willow (the “you” in their various narratives) thus conveying (without telling the reader) that Willow is the center of this tale.

Yes, this tale is depressing. Yes, it is hard to read. Yes, some readers are going to find the ending especially painful. But I thought that Jodi Picoult – unlike in too many of her novels – handled this material with technical flair. Five stars.

Get your copy of Jodi Picoult’s HANDLE WITH CARE here

Categories: Books

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