Monday, May 25, 2009

HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult


When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

Read an excerpt:

February 14, 2002
Things break all the time. Glass, and dishes, and fingernails. Cars and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever.

For the last two months of my pregnancy, I made lists of these things, in the hopes that it would
make your birth easier.

Promises break.

Hearts break.

On the night before you were born, I sat up in bed with something to add to my list. I rummaged in my nightstand for a pencil and paper, but Sean put his warm hand on my leg. Charlotte? he asked. Is everything okay?

Before I could answer, he pulled me into his arms, flush against him, and I fell asleep feeling safe, forgetting to write down what I had dreamed.

It wasn't until weeks later, when you were here, that I remembered what had awakened me that night: fault lines. These are the places where the earth breaks apart. These are the spots where earthquakes originate, where volcanoes are born. Or in other words: the world is crumbling under us; it's the solid ground beneath our feet that's an illusion.
* * *

MY RATING (3 out of 5 STARS)
This is Jodi Picoult's latest book & when I saw it on the shelves of Borders, I knew I just had to lay my hands on it. However, I must say that I am extremely disappointed with it.

I've always been such a fan and I was completely ready to immerse myself in her world of moral dilemmas with it's many shades of greys. Furthermore, I am a mother and storylines that involves mothers doing whatever they can for their kids, strikes a chord very close to my heart. However this time, I didn't feel for any of the characters (with the exception of Willow), not even for Charlotte, the mother. She's a matyr to Willow but the total opposite with Ameila, so she totally loses points as a mother.

The subplot of the attorney was distracting & even boring up to the point that I was just skimping through the parts about her. Other than that, there was the subplot about Amelia too. This plot with the neglected badly-behaved sister had already been done in My Sister's Keeper. Another gripe is "Catch-22". This word was used so many times in the book that it was a real overkill!

Although I would say that nothing beats the ending. From the formula she had used in My Sister's Keeper, I knew I saw it coming. I kept my fingers crossed hoping it's not the ending I was expecting but sure enough .......... It was terribly disappointing! Unlike in My Sister's Keeper, I had found the ending heart-wrenching (although can't say I love it), I found the twist here contrived and totally uncalled for. It didn't have to end that way and it left me in a dark brooding mood for the rest of the day.

I had wanted to rate this much lower because the ending really did it in for me. But that said, she's Jodi Picoult after all. Nothing can take away the fact that she's a poignant story-teller and she always manages to make me stay riveted to her books, including this one. So after weighing both sides, I decided to just take the easy way out & give it a 3 :p

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