Book Review: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult [SPOILERS]

My Rating: ★★★½ 

Genre: Fiction; Adult

Plot: Willow O’Keeffe is born with  osteogenesis imperfecta (“brittle bone disease”), and spends the first years of her life casted, splinted, and essentially broken. When the family decides to take a trip to Disney World together, Willow trips and falls and has another break. However, since they are in an unfamiliar hospital, the doctors do not have her records and must assume her breaks are signs of abuse, and her parents are arrested. Once the facts are all cleared up, the girls were reunited with their parents, but their father, Sean, was furious. He got a lawyer, with the intention of suing the hospital for the way they were treated. However, the lawyer told him that they were acting well within their rights and that there wasn’t a case there– but there might be a case somewhere else. A case that would change the way people looked at their family forever. A case that would mean that Charlotte would have to basically say that she wished her daughter had never been born.

Pros:

  • It was a page-turner. I found myself unable to stop reading (I even accidentally took a forty-five minute lunch break, when I was only supposed to take thirty minutes) because I got so caught up in the story.
  • It was written like they were all telling the story to Willow. I liked that.
  • I could relate to the characters. Maybe not in the medical sense, but I Charlotte and Sean’s marriage was very realistically written, the little disputes about money and the small habits they had with each other. All of it. And Amelia. Oh my goodness I just wanted to hug her and say “shhh bb it’ll be ok, just come here shhh” and not like in a creepy way, I just really wanted to make her feel better.
  • It shows the underlying problems in a family with an already big problem. The things no one sees. The things people don’t really want to see. All of the casseroles that NO ONE is going to eat.
  • As always, the story lines and multiple points of few gave the story a lot of variance while still showing connections in the journeys along the way.
  • There are so many good quotes in this book. So many.

Cons:

  • I basically knew Willow was going to die from page one. Well, ok, from whenever I found out she was sick. 1) the cover showed a girl DROWING IN THE POND, and 2) I knew the trial was going to be this HUGE fiasco all for nothing. She had to die. It only made sense for Picoult’s method of storytelling.
  • It was really anti-climactic and then it exploded. Like ok cool they won the trial (of course), and then the last page punched you in the face. Some readers might like that, but the ending really just didn’t do it for me. Especially because I predicted the outcome.

Favorite Quote(s):

  •  “When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it’s safe inside your mouth.” 
  • “I always hated when my scars started to fade, because as long as I could still see them, I knew why I was hurting.” 
  • “Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.” 
  • “There are kinds of pain that you can’t speak out loud.” 

My Thoughts: This was a good book, if you like tear-jerkers. I will admit that I cried a few times while reading this book. Babies in pain is such a sad subject. I really liked the lawyer’s side-story, even with the sad ending to her journey to find her birth-parents. Overall, it was a good book. I think maybe the reason I rated it so low was because 1) it was predictable and 2) it just ended the way it did. I know that Picoult does this with her books. I know. I get that. But ugh. RIGHT IN THE FEELS.

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