Review: Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

Handle With Care

by Jodi Picoult

Willow O’Keefe is born with osteogenisis imperfects, or brittle bone disease, which means she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, and a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to cover medical expenses, her mother Charlotte decides to file a wrongful birth lawsuit against her obstetrician for compensation that might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow.

But it means that Charlotte has to say in a court of law that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance. And the obstetrician she’s suing isn’t just her physician – she’s her best friend.

Handle with Care is an absorbing narrative that questions the basis of medical ethics and of personal morality. What rights do parents or doctors have to terminate a life? How disabled is too disabled? As a parent, how far would you go to save someone you love?

The book begins by introducing us in a round-about way to Willow and her painful disease. The story is set out as a series of short stories (or letters if you like) from all the main characters to Willow. It follows the family’s pain and financial struggle with caring for a severely disabled child, who is unable to lead a normal life due to the fact that she may ‘break’ – literally.

As it is written from everybody’s point of view it was hard to take sides and still leaves the questions unanswered – even with the result of the court case. Was it the doctor’s fault in not realising earlier that there was a problem with the pregnancy? Are the parents entitled to financial relief when it’s not really anybody else’s problem but there’s? Even though they know Willow has physical issues, should be allowed to live a more independent life like her brain wants her to have?

I feel that Jodi Picoult has written this story very tenderly and with class, and I absolutely bawled my eyes out at the end. It’s a story that really touches your soul and hits you hard, and I felt that ending was done superbly and really in keeping with the rest of the book.

Recommended Age: 18+

My Rating: 4.5/5 Great read.

Find a copy to buy here at my website

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