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Handle with Care: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Jodi Picoult
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (563 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.38
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

Things break all the time.
Day breaks, waves break, voices break.
Promises break.
Hearts break.

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love. Written with the grace and wisdom she's become famous for, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult offers us an unforgettable novel about the fragility of life and the lengths we will go to protect it.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Perennial bestseller Picoult (Change of Heart) delivers another engrossing family drama, spiced with her trademark blend of medicine, law and love. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe's daughter, Willow, was born with brittle bone disease, a condition that requires Charlotte to act as full-time caregiver and has strained their emotional and financial limits. Willow's teenaged half-sister, Amelia, suffers as well, overshadowed by Willow's needs and lost in her own adolescent turmoil. When Charlotte decides to sue for wrongful birth in order to obtain a settlement to ensure Willow's future, the already strained family begins to implode. Not only is the defendant Charlotte's longtime friend, but the case requires Charlotte and Sean to claim that had they known of Willow's condition, they would have terminated the pregnancy, a statement that strikes at the core of their faith and family. Picoult individualizes the alternating voices of the narrators more believably than she has previously, and weaves in subplots to underscore the themes of hope, regret, identity and family, leading up to her signature closing twists. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Sure, Jodi Picoult can be formulaic, but few critics seemed to mind her well-researched, domestic-and-legal-drama-told-through-multiple-viewpoints framework for Handle With Care. Except for the Boston Globe, which noted that "the construct feels a little tired and trepid, creating more distance than illumination," reviewers embraced Picoult's latest offering. Told primarily through the voices of Willow's mother, her father, her adolescent sister, the obstetrician, and a lawyer, the novel wrenched readers' hearts as it examines motherhood, family, and disability. The bonus? Charlotte, a renowned pastry chef, adds a little sweetness to the family tragedy by interspersing her dessert recipes throughout the novel.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Product Details

  • File Size: 1024 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743296419
  • Publisher: Atria Books (March 3, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,719 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy and predictable September 9, 2009
I hesitated to read Jodi Picoult's latest because I have become more and more disappointed with her recent books. Like other readers I LOVED the first few I read, especially Plain Truth and My Sister's Keeper. But she is definitely writing to formula here and it has become not only boring but infuriating to me and I can honestly say this will be the last book of hers I read unless she makes a change (which I hope she will because I do think she is a compelling writer).
I agree with many of the other reviewers' points about sloppiness (capitalizing Kitty Litter, etc.) I also agree it would have made much more sense had Charlotte not known Willow had OI until she was born.
I also do not buy Charlotte -- that she could be so uncaring a mother both to Willow (by not talking to her about her actions) and to Amelia (by neglecting her so much it is almost criminal).
Also of late it seems she just tries to pull too much into her novels, what with Amelia suffering from bulemia, self hatred, cutting, shoplifting, etc. etc. I mean, come on!
And do not even get me started on the ending.
SPOILER alert: Of course I knew Willow would die and that it would be a "shocking" ending (formulaic). But the way that it happened, with everything resolving itself and then Willow "accidentally" falling through the ice just really made me mad. It was so unnecessary and so to Picoult's formula.
Also I do not believe that Charlotte would go through everything she did and then NOT cash the check. Again, come on! And to be realistic, wouldn't there have been an appeal by the insurance company that would have dragged on and on, and if they had won in the end would they have gotten a single check for $8 million to conveniently tack up on the refrigerator?
When I read Willow's chapter my initial reaction was, "Oh come on, Jodi! You can do better than this."
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152 of 180 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is the last Jodi Picoult book I will read March 19, 2009
I've read ALL of Jodi Picoult's books. Some of my favorites are Perfect Match, My Sister's Keeper, and The Pact. Compared to those books, her latest release, Handle with Care, is contrived, sloppy, boring, and disappointing. Oh, and too many points of view included. I almost laughed at the ending because I honestly didn't think the book could have ended with more of a cop-out.

It doesn't seem like the publishers bothered copyediting or proofreading this book. Kitty Litter should not be capitalized. I don't care how "mature" a 6 year old is, she would create a Gmail account. And, Jodi, please spare me the gratuitous references to Facebook. These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head -- there were many more.

Perhaps releasing one book a year is too much for Jodi Picoult, because the product is suffering. Her stories used to be contemporary, heart-wrenching and full of plot twists.

Handle with Care is simply a regurgitation of lawyers, sisters with issues, second marriages, etc. With some bulimia and cutting thrown in and not really addressed. Not to mention the recipes. What was the point of those? Charlotte's career as a pastry chef seems conveniently trendy and never becomes anything more than that, except for the lame recipes scattered throughout the book. It's like Jodi's editors and marketing team sat around a table and came up with every single thing they could incorporate into this book and then threw each thing in, none of which were successful.

I'm glad I got this from the library instead of purchasing it. What a disappointment. Don't bother.
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73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "My Sister's Keeper" Part Two March 11, 2009
I really love Jodi Picoult's books. I find she tackles very tough subjects in a captivating and stimulating manner. She takes chances on subjects that other authors just gloss over too afraid to really speculate about the feelings of the participants. If you were the mother of a child that was bullied or was the bully, "Nineteen Minutes" was your worst nightmare. So believable.

I found "Handle With Care" engrossing. I have a child with limited handicaps and I felt for Willow with every breath. But for me this was one more trial, one more heart-wrenching child, one more set of confused and inarticulate parents, one more lawyer with "issues" and one more manipulated ending too many. I can't tell you how very disappointed I was with this book. Lots of meringue but the filling was not fresh.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't make sense May 13, 2009
My main problem with this book was with the wrongful birth topic. Charlotte DID find out her daughter had OI while pregnant. She COULD have had an abortion then. The story would have made more sense if there was not another ultra sound after the one at 18 weeks and they wouldn't have known until birth that the baby had OI. Marin's argument and the jury's decision seemed as if Piper caused the baby's disability. It seems unlikely to me that any jury would award damages to this couple in this situation. The whole premise seems unrealistic.
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79 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Give me a break...a very bad Picoult read. March 20, 2009
I have enjoyed Jodi Picoult's books since the very early days in the 90s, and I have to say that although they were getting better and better, she definitely plateaued around Nineteen Minutes and has now begun the downward spiral. I should add that I am also a high school English teacher, so I deal with a fair amount of books in my spare time. This book was written so similarly to My Sister's Keeper that I had a pretty good feeling on what the ending was going to be near the beginning of the book, and I was right.

Warning: mild spoiler to follow.

Like her book last year, Change of Heart, this book just seems to follow a formula she's gotten too comfortable with in her last few novels: a child with a medical issue, parents with personal issues, and an angsty lawyer with a long backstory.

Probably the worst part of this book and Picoult's recent novels is her tendency to dive into these awful comparisons. She describes characters with breath that smells of coffee and regret, and cookies that are baked with a special ingredient: the ingredient of remorse. The characters are constantly looking at or holding on to something physical, then realizing what they are really looking at/holding is a feeling: sympathy, love, grief, etc. Give me a break. I could handle these once every few chapters, but there is literally one of these every few pages. Is someone ghostwriting this stuff in?

As a mother, I found the character of Charlotte to be completely unbelievable. Throughout the novel, she recognizes the fact that filing a wrongful birth lawsuit may destroy her daughter's image of her and of herself, but all she cares about is money, even when they never previously struggled with money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
this is one of my favorite books by this author. it touch my soul deeply. I also really enjoyed "Nineteen Minutes". Read more
Published 11 hours ago by SES
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book and could not put it down!
Published 16 hours ago by Crystalb
5.0 out of 5 stars Handle with Care: An emotional roller coaster
This book was a wonderful read! It kept me up late on nights that should have been early! Quite the ending, so it's well worth the time. :)
Published 2 days ago by Lindsay Ahner
4.0 out of 5 stars Similar to My Sister's Keeper
Ms Picoult knows how to tell a story, and as good as this story is, it's a very close match to My Sister's Keeper. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Antoinette Brush
4.0 out of 5 stars The ending was an blow, leaving me feeling a ...
The ending was an blow, leaving me feeling a little hopeless about the point of the story. Nevertheless an engaging book, that draws you in until the very end.
Published 1 month ago by Melissa Page
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
The book kept me on the edge of my seat by either liking or disliking the characters at one time of another. As a person with OI it was extremely interesting and very well written
Published 1 month ago by marmo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My absolute favorite book by her!
Published 1 month ago by candace baldwin
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
This was lent to me and I gave it right back before I was even halfway in. I could not stomach the book and nothing about it was redeemable.
Published 1 month ago by Anna Cordova
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
This book kept me in! Couldn't stop reading!!! Jodi Picoult has outdone herself on this one I must say!! (:
Published 2 months ago by Randa
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
extremely thought provacative
Published 2 months ago by Galee
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More About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "The Storyteller," "Lone Wolf," "Between the Lines," "Sing You Home," "House Rules," "Handle with Care," "Change of Heart," "Nineteen Minutes," and "My Sister's Keeper." She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

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Topic From this Discussion
Willow Too "Mature?"
Funny you bring this up- I am half way through this book and find myself thinking this over and over. I keep trying to remind myself that Picoult has made Willow a more mature child, but even a mature 5 or 6 year old wouldn't seem this mature....

In general, Picoult's child characters seem too... Read More
Jul 4, 2009 by Jamie Bourgeois |  See all 12 posts
Why or why not Did you like the ending of this book?
The ending was a cop out I feel. I honestly thought to myself about half way through this book, "if Willow dies at the end of this I am NOT going to be happy." This book played out in a VERY similar was to "My Sister's Keeper." The sick child, the child at the other end... Read More
Apr 27, 2009 by Marie Ulrich |  See all 41 posts
Technical editing
I agree with SaraLynn.
If there was proper research, the author would know that the tibia and fibula are in the lower leg, below the femur.
Also, physicians do not perform the imaging exams. That is why they pay Radiologic Technologists or Radiographers. We do those exams, not doctors or... Read More
Aug 2, 2009 by Jan Martin |  See all 3 posts
Look at the Kindle Price!
I'm surprised and sorry to see the price, too. One of the selling points on the Kindle for both me and my husband was that we could save $ on books, because we read so many. I have recommended the Kindle to many, many people as well, and in part my recommendation said "and books are $10 or... Read More
Feb 28, 2009 by D. Marentette |  See all 56 posts
Is there a trial in this book? If so, then I'm not reading it!
A) Her trials are well written and actually pretty accurate.
B) Her acquittals are justified. As in Salem Falls, Mercy, and The Pact
C) Most of them don't end in acquittals. As in, Plain Truth, Nineteen Minutes, Perfect Match.
D) Some of them aren't criminal in, acquittal is not even... Read More
Feb 4, 2009 by Melissa L. Boege |  See all 20 posts
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