Monday, September 7, 2009

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

At this moment in time I have now officially read all of Jodi Picoult's novels. I know that status will change as she keeps writing and publishing engaging tales such as this one.
This story centres around the O'Keefe's, a New Hampshire family whose youngest child is born with OI, also known as brittle bone disease. Their daughter suffers from the most extreme form of this disease that isn't fatal. She lives a life that will cause her to have hundreds of broken bones in her lifetime. The book asks the question, would it have been better if this child had never been born? Should this have been diagnosed before this child's birth? Should the parent have had the option to abort?
It is a heartbreaking tale. The parents clearly love Willow and each want what they believe to be the best for her. The choices they make and stances they take could break the family apart. Willow's life and the decisions of her parents affect not just their marriage, but Willow, their other daughter Amelia, their relationship with their closest friends and even the lawyer representing them.
The story takes an interesting perspective of multiple 2nd person narrative (each character telling their tale to Willow).
I think I enjoyed this one because it does ask hard questions about raising kids with Special Needs. I teach. I have taught a lot of kids with Special Needs over the past 11 years (more if you count student teaching). I think this has biased me. I love these kids. They are some of the most wonderful children I've ever met. I couldn't imagine what any of my classrooms would have been like had these kids been missing. They deserve the best that we can give them.
As difficult as it was to watch the mother's questions in this book, her character was written in such a way that you could understand her thought process, she was desperate. (Although I do admit to wanting to hit her over the head more than once).
As with most of Picoult's novels, I was riveted. My poor husband loses me into my own world when I get into a book like this. Picoult is a gifted storyteller and I look forward to her next offering.

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