Handle with care – Book Review

Handle with care

By Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s writing always captivated me, even if I could not always agree with some of the protagonists.  Handle with care was no different. She picked up another sensitive issue and made it a very interesting read.

Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe after a lot of trying, conceive and they find that the baby, Willow, has a rare condition called  osteogenesis imperfecta. She is born with broken bones. And it can only get worse as she grows. A child who can break a bone if held incorrectly, who cannot be hugged, cuddled, unless with great care. A nurse manages to break a bone, right after she is born, by handling her wrong.

As Willow grows older, the stress on the family increases. Charlotte has an elder daughter Amelia, from a previous relationship, who feels the pressure of have a sibling who is so sick.The family’s finances are stretched and the circumstances have begun to take a toll on all of them.

Having had so many broken bones, it is mandatory for Willow’s parents to carry the certificate from her doctor which certifies that she has osteogenesis imperfecta. They forget to carry this to a trip to Disneyland and they are suspected of abusing their daughter. Having so many broken bones can only mean abuse.  After the disastrous Disneyland, Sean is all set to sue Disneyland and the hospital for the mental torture, when they are told that they have another option. They could sue their ob-gyn for not recognizing Willow’s condition early enough so that they could have opted for termination.

This would mean that Charlotte would have to sue her best friend and would have to stand up in court and say that she wishes that Willow was never born.

It was a very moving book to read. The kind of pain that Willow has to go through. The feelings that Amelia has to go through, having a mother who has little time for her, though she loves her wholeheartedly. Knowing that everything could go wrong with the slightest mistake. The stress that Charlotte and Sean’s relationship goes through. There are a lot of times when Charlotte comes through as rather mercenary, but again, I guess, someone in her position might just become that way.

It was a gripping read, which kept me absorbed till the last word – like all of Jodi Picoult’s books. It was a book that made me cry, made me thankful for all that I had. The simple pleasures of hugging a child, teaching her to walk, letting her fall, things which we take for granted, might be things which some may never be able to experience…

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24 thoughts on “Handle with care – Book Review

  1. What a horrible situation for parents to have to confront! Is the book based on a real life story?


    No, as far as I know, it is fiction. This author picks up a lot of these really tough morally and legally challenging issues.. She has a way with it. It must be so tough on parents who actually go through it all..

    As you say, reading this sort of story makes us thankful for all that we have…

    Absolutely!

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  2. And once the baby is there, it must be so traumatic for them – to love her and still wish she was not born!


    It must be horrible for parents who have to go through it all.. The author brings out so many aspects of their pain..

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  3. I’ve read the review by PB on our books blog. I’ve many a times heard about Jodi’s books and I’ve heard only praises..you know something strange…I always want to pick her books…go to the book store and almost get it packed but half way when I reach the counter I put it back on shelf 😦

    I fell for her writing from the first book I picked up – a few years back. I think my first was Salem Falls – and I loved the way she writes. I had no idea about her when I first read her -that might have helped too.

    Don’t know why can’t I pick her books 😦 I really want to…hehehe strange me na ?

    Give it a try – you might just like it 🙂 You know, I was like that with the Harry Potter books – then one day in 2004, I just started reading one – and I read the first three in three nights straight 🙂

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    • I think you’re right…I just need to pick the book and start reading..may after I finish ‘Dear John’ I’ll pick Jodi’s…

      How are you finding Dear John? I loved it!

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  4. Great review, Smitha. I’ve read only one of Picoult’s books & loved it. Infact just a couple of hours earlier, I was at ASDA, looking at all the Picoult books in the shelf. Each dealt with, as you rightly say, complicated – legally and morally too, the latter being more difficult, methinks. Btw, how do you make time for all this? Hats off!!

    ASDA – You know, we used to be at the ASDA near your house every weekend, a few years back 🙂 Yes, all of her books do handle such issues and she does it so well too. Time for reading? If you come and see the state of my house, you will know how 🙂 I so need that cleaning lady of yours, Pals 🙂

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  5. I love her books – have read them all after I picked up “My sister’s keeper” – this one was especially heartbreaking. She has a way of making you think and feel the most complicated things you normally wouldn’t even dream about….


    My sister’s Keeper was one great book! I love the way she writes – the topics she picks up and the way she handles it – is beautiful!

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  6. That is a heart wrenching story…..I have never read this author though have seen her books.

    I love the way she writes.. She picks up such issues and writes beautifully around it. The best part is that her characters are all shades of grey – nobody is shown as perfect..

    Being a parent is hard as it is but being such a situation must be just ……very very hard.
    You have written a great review…..I will try one her books. Thanks!

    Yes, parenting is already so tough and a situation like this is so unthinkable, isn’t it? Thank you 🙂

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  7. ohhh this is so sad..I love Jodi Picoult too..I heard of her about a year back from an online book club but never got my hands on it..I read My Sister’s Keeper, a couple months back..and Since then,I am her big fan!
    I am always looking for her titles at the library!must look for this one.

    You should try her other books, if you liked My Sister’s Keeper. I just love the way she writes.

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  8. I just know I cannot read her books. Any books, with any kind of cruelty or sadness surrounding children, is just not my cup of tea, atleast no longer. I would rather not read, no matter how well written and stay peaceful!

    Yes, it is tough read. It made me cry at times. The pain and the sadness is too much at times. I still like her books – because it makes me think.. You know of things I would have never thought of otherwise.

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  9. i;ve been wanted to read a book by Jodi for a while now… just havent got around it… i am yet to hear someone give a thumbs down to the books….but this book, i dont know if i wud be able to complete…the story line u’ve given, makes me think i will be sobbing through the book..

    It is a very touching story – but then all her books are like that. She makes you feel the pain..

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  10. You’re really good at book reviews Smits. The story seems quite heartwrenching. Dont know if I’ll have the strength to read it though. I’m yet to read the books I bought from Delhi :).


    Thank you Deeps 🙂 I have one more that I have to review – It is a historical. It is a very touching and troubling read. She makes you feel every bit of pain.. I mean, I read it with tears rolling down my eyes.

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  11. I have read one of her books and decided to stay away from them…too many worries already in this world.

    The topic sounds tooo serious for my taste..I like spy novels and action lots of action 🙂

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  12. Nice Review Smitha… don’t know whether I like this kind of book and also I think it will take a lot of patience…. will try to read some later day…. 🙂 🙂

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  13. I am a coward too when it comes to reading such books about children. I will end up with a red nose and tons of tissue. I wanted to read her My Sister’s Keeper but at the last moment backed out.

    You know I have started looking forward to your book reviews…makes my life in the Library Aisle easy and beautiful 😛

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  14. No mother would like to be in that situation, right ??? Cant even hug your little baby ???? Thats too sad. Off late, there are so many books and movies which highlight some medical condition or other, which has so long remained within ppl who suffered from it. Now, there is lot of awareness abt such syndromes and ppl are sensitive to them too.

    You cried while reading it ???? Then I am sure I will. Let me see, if I get my hands to this book. 🙂

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  15. oh Gosh! 😦
    I’m quite sure that I will cry too… 😐
    Thanks for the review Smithus… Still thinking whether to pick it up and read or simply keep away…

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  16. I love Jodi Picoult’s books (in case you couldn’t tell by my reviews!) and this was good too. My first book was My Sister’s Keeper and is still my favourite…hadn’t heard about her at all but the story intrigued me. And I haven’t looked back since. Her stories do make you feel grateful for all you have…and yet, I find I worry if I ever have kids with say a disability, will I be able to manage?

    Have you read her latest book ‘House Rules’? About a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome.

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  17. ohh i felt so sad while reading about the book! seems like a good read.. although I hope this situation doesnt exist in real life for any parents

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  18. I have read & liked the book! Been planning a review since eternity hehehehe….

    It is a good book, isn’t it? I like all her books – I like the way she writes. Waiting to get her latest – House Rules.

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