Title: Handle With Care
Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: March 3, 2009
Page Count: 496
My Rating: 2.5/5
I don’t really know how to review this book – Jodi Picoult is one of those love or hate authors. Either people love her, and they’re going to read her newest book no matter what I say, or they hate her, and they wouldn’t come close to any of her books no matter what I say. So I guess I’ll just relay my thoughts, as scattered as they may be.
The story centers around five-year-old Willow, born with osteogenesis imperfecta (sometimes known as brittle bone disease) and her parents – small town cop Sean O’Keefe and his stay at home mom wife Charlotte. Willow also has an older sister, Amelia (thirteen years old), who is actually not Sean’s biological child but he adopted her when she was five (something that was mentioned several times in the book but didn’t seem to have much point in relation to the rest of the story). The family decides to take a much-needed vacation to Disney World (something that’s nearly impossible with Willow’s disease, but they try anyway), and a series of events occur while on vacation which inspire Charlotte to bring a lawsuit against the OB who treated her while she was pregnant with Willow – a wrongful birth suit. Wrongful birth basically means that had Charlotte been given correct information about Willow’s condition while she was early in her pregnancy, she would have aborted the child. Oh, and one more thing – the OB she’s suing? Her long time best friend, Piper Reece.
Anyone familiar with Picoult novels will know that this type of story is exactly what Picoult does best (in fact, some might argue that it’s the ONLY thing she does). Having read every novel she’s written, I’m starting to get a little tired of this same type of “everything is not black and white” dilemma that she always presents in her books. With this one especially, it reminded me a lot of My Sister’s Keeper and I just didn’t think it was as original a story as some of her other books. Furthermore, I only liked one of the characters (Amelia). Willow doesn’t count – we barely got to know her, except to learn that she’s extremely precocious and reads at a sixth-grade level (which I did at that age, too, but she was totally not a believable five-year-old, sorry to say). Charlotte, Sean, Marin (the lawyer), even Piper, I didn’t like any of them. They were all, every one of them, in my opinion so selfish, so self-absorbed, and to me they didn’t have nearly developed enough personalities. They were so one-dimensional. Ugh.
And the ending – I’m getting very, very sick of these Picoult endings. This one was SO predictable that I wouldn’t even feel like I was spoiling it if I were to tell you what happened. Don’t worry, I won’t! I’m just saying – wow. I guessed from like page 100 (out of 500) what would happen on the last page. I kind of feel like at this point, Picoult is starting to put these endings in her books naturally, and when every single book you write ends in a similar way it defeats the purpose. It doesn’t shock the reader anymore. And I THINK she wants to shock the reader, so maybe she should start changing it up a little. Give us something we don’t expect from you, Ms. Picoult!
I have to say, though, that just like almost every Picoult I’ve read, this one was definitely a page-turner. The woman knows how to craft a story so that you NEED to finish the book. She writes entertaining books. And I don’t think I’ll ever NOT read a new book from her. I just wanted more from this one.
Any other Picoult fans? Any Picoult haters? Why or why not? And what did you think of Handle With Care (if you read it at all)?
More reviews –
- Alisonwonderland at So Many Books, So Little Time
- Staci at Life in the Thumb
- Shon at Me, My Book, and the Couch
- Amanda at A Patchwork of Books
Let me know if I missed yours!