Handle With Care is one of Jodi Picoult’s books that I hadn’t actually heard about until I saw it sitting in a charity shop. The blurb seemed interesting and I’ve read a few of Picoult’s other books so I had to pick it up for something different to read. And it obviously seemed interesting enough for me to somehow to pick two different copies of it up on two different occasions from the same charity shop!
Willow O’Keefe suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, meaning that her bones break easily. Just doing simple daily tasks can cause her a catastrophic break. But other than that, she’s like every other 5 year old – well, one with an amazing IQ for her age. Charlotte is Willow’s mum, and she’s running out of money, fast. So when she gets the chance to sue for wrongful birth, she takes it, desperate for any money she can get to help Willow’s well-being.
It was definitely a beefy book, with major questions on morality. Throughout the book I couldn’t work out whether I was on Charlotte’s side or not, as to sue for wrongful birth, she is basically saying she wishes Willow had never been born, and I found it really hard to understand how a parent could say that.
I did struggle reading this book. It took me two weeks to read 2/3 of it, and everyone who regularly reads this blog knows that’s not like me at all. I ended up skimming the last 1/3 to just get it finished because I was too far in to DNF in but felt that the plot was starting to become a little drawn out and a bit repetitive.
It’s very similar to Picoult’s Small Great Things, and I think that’s why I liked it so much to begin with. It covers the issues in childbirth and raising a child.
I felt so much empathy for Amelia, Willow’s half-sister. Throughout the novel she feels forgotten about because all of the focus is on Willow and to see her fighting her own battles with nobody to help was hard. Her mental health took a battering on behalf of her sister, but she still didn’t say anything. She suffered in silence for too long and were one of the few things that made me start to shift over to Charlotte’s side of the argument over Willow’s birth.
This novel is definitely not lighthearted, so if you like reading books that aren’t dealing with serious subjects, this probably isn’t for you. It was a tough read for me, which is why I only gave it 3/5. However, if you like Jodi Picoult’s other books, I definitely think you’ll like this one.
Genre: Women’s Lit
Age Range: 14 +
Recommend to: Readers of Jodi Picoult or someone looking for a very serious novel with morality questions
What Jodi Picoult books have you read? Let me know in the comments, I’m looking for recommendations for my next one!
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