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on October 1, 2016
I probably would not have picked up this book on my own, but since it was the "required reading" for our local book club this month, I bought the paperback and started in. Around 10 pages into the book, I had to put it down. It was depressing. Very depressing. I later picked up the book again, forcing myself to give it another shot. Nope. I went from sad and depressed to angry and frustrated. Not the emotions I enjoy from a book. Since I could not force myself to pick the book up again, I bought the audio version of the book. Sometimes listening to a book while doing the laundry or driving to the bank allows me to get the story without getting too deeply "involved". I must say that the narrators for the Audible version of this book were outstanding, with different narrators for the different characters in the book.

Jodi Picoult is an extremely talented writer, and this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but somehow it missed the mark for me. This is a story about a family's struggle after their newborn baby girl is born with a genetic birth defect known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). This is a condition where the child's bones are brittle, so brittle that they break with the slightest impact from a fall, bumping into a table, or even a hug. Mounting medical bills and the need for special equipment cause financial problems and Charlotte, the mother, ends up filing a "wrongful birth" lawsuit against her obstetrician (who happens to be her best friend) for not discovering this condition and giving Charlotte and her husband Sean the option to abort the fetus. Religious aspects (Charlotte and Sean are catholic) and moral decisions tear this family apart. The ending was predictable.

I'm sure there are many who do not agree with my rating of this book. But I need to be honest with my humble opinion.
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on March 6, 2015
Grade: A-

Six-year-old Willow has osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), brittle bone disease. She's broken over 50 bones, sometimes just by sneezing. Charlotte, her overprotective mother, is always at her side. Her father, Sean, works overtime to buy Willow's medical supplies and her mounting expenses. Troubled twelve-year-old Amelia, rounds out the family. Charlotte decides to sue her obgyn and best friend Piper for not noticing the OI in an earlier, essentially saying she would have aborted her beloved Willow, all of their lives are thrown into irreparable turmoil.

Amelia and the adult characters were richly layered with nuanced traits that probably make some readers love them, and others want to strangle them. Instead of finding Charlotte sympathetic, I saw her as myopic, overprotective to Willow, neglectful to Amelia, selfish, stubborn, and a lousy friend and partner. I liked the other characters and felt most sympathetic to Amelia and Piper. Willow seemed flat, the sick girl with a great attitude who everyone loved. All of the characters, except for Willow, were believable.

Veteran novelist Jodi Picoult told the story in second person "you", who was Willow. Charlotte, Sean, Piper, Amelia, Maris (the attorney) all had sections with their first person POVs. Even Willow had a chapter at the end. Picoult did a great job staying in the "you" POV, though the first person voices all sounded the same. And there was an added bonus; Charlotte, a pastry chef, had recipes of the treats she baked weaved in through the chapters. There's also a twist I hadn't anticipated.

The story was very engaging and evenly paced. I finished reading in a day, although the book has over 400 pages. I loved the moral/ethical dilemma, it made me think about how I would feel in each person's shoes, even Charlotte, who I disliked.

Readers who enjoy women's fiction, stories of family, friendship or medical dramas will be drawn to HANDLE WITH CARE. It's one of Picoult's best works.
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on August 9, 2015
Handle With Care-very interesting; and informative. Another story that gives us something to really think about. The author is clever, entertaining, and unpredictable. I enjoyed this book very much.
She goes into the aspects of what its like to raise a child with special needs and to fight for that child no matter what the cost. The characters were well developed as each chapter was written in the first person from the perspective of that character. The viewpoints on the various plot angles were examined from their perspectives.
The story draws the reader in emotionally and psychologically as it examines various relationships and how they go through changes-good and bad as the reader is taken through a legal battle brought on by the mother of a child born with a severe bone disease. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good, well written story and learn a few things along the way.
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on April 12, 2015
Jodie Picoult has created a formula for writing her novels that has obviously worked very well for her. In the face of opposition, damage to relationships, and in some cases logic, her heroines decide the best way to deal with the tragedies life throws their way and relentlessly follow this decision to an often bitter outcome. Charlotte, in Handle with Care, is no exception to this formula when she chooses to file a wrongful birth malpractice suit in order to insure the financial future of her daughter, Willow, who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone disease that causes countless fractures. The stickers are the suit is against her best friend and no one else in her life supports her decision.

Picolt does a good job of drawing the reader into Charlotte's personal dilemma. What would we do if our daughter, whom we loved and treasured, had needs that strapped the family financially and made her future care problematic. Would we have aborted the fetus if we had known in advance? Would we sue our best friend because she didn't correctly read the signs on the first sonogram? Would we risk our daughter feeling that we wouldn't have wanted her if we had known? With such fodder for discussion it is no wonder that Jodi Picoult's novels are such book club favorites.
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on April 12, 2015
I don't know where to start and how to express that I can't say enough good about this book. While I was reading it I started to get upset that I knew it would soon be over and I began researching which other books by the author I wanted to buy first because I wanted to have one ready to read next. There was a lot going on throughout the book, but not too much to keep up with just enough to keep me anticipating what was next. I thought many times about how much research had to go into writing this book because the author was obviously extremely knowledgeable about many topics and behind the scenes workings and details of disease processes and several careers. There is one thing that could be a positive or negative and that was how she told the story from the perspective of the characters. Several times I had to flip a few pages back to remind myself who she was talking about, but it was nice at times to know what each person was thinking. Loved it!
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on April 2, 2015
This was a heart rending story about a child born with a bone malady, which manifest with frequent broken bones. It was necessary to handle with care as the title suggests. Any fall or even coughing could bring on a new fracture. She was loved and cared for by mother, father and older sister. Mother put the child in front of everyone and everything else. Father was supportive but away from home, working much of the time. Sister was actually jealous of all the attention the child received. When mother decided to file a law suite against the obstetrition for wrongful birth, things got pretty tense. I often dreaded turning the page, because I was afraid of what would happen next, because there was much hostility between family, obstetrition and community. A moral dilemma, to say the least. I highly recommend this book. You will be surprised at the ending!
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on March 29, 2015
I was disappointed by Handle with Care on many levels. This is the story of the O'Keefe family, whose younger daughter was born with OI, sometimes called broken bone disease. Is it supposed to be ironic that the child was named Willow after a tree that bends but almost never breaks?

Charlotte, Willow's mother, devotes 99.99 percent of her time to Willow, while her older daughter develops bulimia and begins to cut herself. Willow's father is a bit player in this formulaic family drama.

Any sympathy I might have had for Charlotte quickly disappears after she decides to sue her obstetrician for wrongful birth. And, of course, the doctor happens to be Charlotte's best friend. Because wrongful birth means that she would have aborted Willow if she had been provided with more information about the fetus, she tells Willow, who is all of six-years-old, that she would lie in court. Yep, she told some whoppers.

The entire time I waded through this too long and repetitious saga, I thought to myself that Jodi Picoult could write hundreds of identical books by Googling rare diseases and doing a search and replace on her word processor. She could change the title, and voila, out comes a new book. Just imagine, I thought. She could replace OI with spasmodic torticollis, replace "Willow" with "Susan", change the title to It Looks Straight to Me and have my mother sue the multitudes of doctors who misdiagnosed me. My siblings could join the Crips, shoot up heroin, and my father would just check out. By the way, It Looks Straight to Me is an in joke for those of us have spasmodic torticollis because our heads often rest on a shoulder.

I hate to cook but love football, so instead of gratuitous recipes (which I skipped over), I could explain various football plays in excruciating detail. In a book of this length, why throw in recipes? I never understand authors who use this gimmick. Do they think the reader will put down the book, rush into the kitchen and rustle up a fancy dessert?

But enough with my snarky sarcasm. Sad to say, though, this story is ripe for sarcasm. My last question: When will Handle with Care appear on Lifetime?
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on March 18, 2015
You can never go wrong reading Jodi Picoult. She shows you all sides of major ethical and moral quandaries. One of her techniques is telling her stories through each of the individuals involved. This is a particularly gut-wrenching story about a tragic physical issue befalling some people when they are born and how it affects each member of the family. She also includes some heartrending moments describing how relationships play out in different sorts of families. She also manages to spin some wonderful tales and obviously does a monumental amount of research before writing her books. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
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on July 12, 2009
I don't think I'll be spending my money buying anymore Jodi Picoult hardcovers. HANDLE WITH CARE was a huge disappointment to me. Yes, Picoult does impeccable research. Yes, she presents OI realistically and sympathetically. Yes, she's a skillful writer. I'll give her all that. BUT, and this is a very big but, if I can't root for the characters, if I can't believe in them, the book doesn't work for me. And I disliked Charlotte, the protagonist, immensely. I simply couldn't believe in her or her actions. I did find the trial interesting and absorbing, but that wasn't enough to save the book for me. SPOILER ALERT: The character I liked most in the book was Willow, and unfortunately Picoult copped out in the end and killed her off. Why she did this, I cannot fathom. It added nothing to the story and left me feeling totally cheated. Also, and this is a small picky, but one nevertheless -- the O'Keefe's would never have been given a check for eight million dollars. First of all, the insurance company would have certainly appealed that verdict. Secondly, the lawyers get their cut off the top, so depending on how much that cut was -- let's say 30-40% -- which is pretty normal, the O'Keefe's portion would have been about $4.8 million. I also couldn't buy into the family not cashing the check. Even if they finally decided they couldn't, in good conscience, spend the money -- they could have donated it to the OI Foundation. I don't know -- I couldn't suspend disbelief through this story, even though I kept reading it and hoping it would improve. RECOMMENDATION: borrow the book from the library.
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on October 20, 2011
Handle with Care is the story of a young girl named Willow with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. She has to live her life very carefully because even the most minor injury for any normal child can lead to a hospital visit. On a trip to Disney World, everything was going fine until she slipped on a napkin and broke both femurs. Because she's been to the hospital so many times for breaks, the police investigate what looks like child abuse since the parents forgot to bring proof of her disorder. Willow's parents want to sue for the embarrassment and wrongful treatment they experienced in Florida when their lawyer tells them they have a wrongful-birth lawsuit on their hands. So what happens when one parent wants to go forward with the lawsuit against the ob-gyn, also her best friend, and the other wants nothing to do with it? How does the older sister, Amelia, cope with once-again having Willow be the spotlight of attention? But the biggest question, how does the family and Willow cope with a lawsuit claiming that she never should have been born and would have been aborted had they known when they claim to love her the way she is?

In a nutshell, this novel is like My Sister's Keeper so if you loved that, you'll love this. However, it is not a copy of it with a new name. Yes they feature children with serious medical conditions, family disputes, and courtroom drama. The novels tackle different moral issues though. Is it okay to have a spare-parts baby? Is it okay to sue for the birth of the child you love so much? They really aren't the same.

This is classic Picoult. She alternates between different viewpoints to tell each character's side of the story. It's an extremely fast read; I didn't want to put it down. It gets very emotional in some parts of the story so like all Picoult stories, don't read it in public if you don't want other people to see you cry.
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