Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Book Review: Handle With Care

Handle With Care is Jodi Picoult's 16th novel, and follows her usual themes of family, relationships and making difficult choices. I choose to take a break from the more challenging The Elegance of the Hedgehog while we were away in Devon so took this one with me instead. Jodi Picoult's books do centre around challenging dilemmas and issues which is why I often find them so interesting, but in writing style it is a lot simpler than Muriel Barbary's work, so it was a bit more relaxing to read.

Handle With Care focuses on a family whose five year old daughter (Willow) has brittle bone disease. The medical bills are getting too much for them to cope with but they are offered a way of paying for her care and providing for her future by suing their OB for "wrongful birth". The idea is that Willow's condition should have been diagnosed earlier and her mother, Charlotte, would then have had the option of aborting the pregnancy earlier. The case is complicated by the fact that the OB in question is Charlotte's best friend (Piper), and that Willow's father, Sean, doesn't support the lawsuit. Throughout the case, the two families go through ups and downs, get pulled apart and fight to work out what the "right choice" is.

Although I did enjoy the book and found it interesting, I don't think it is one of Picoult's best. I've read quite a few of her others - Mercy, Plain Truth, Perfect Match, My Sister's Keeper, Vanishing Acts, Nineteen Minutes and Change of Heart - and I was a little disappointed by this one. It is still readable and interesting, and I still like the way you get the story told from so many different characters' viewpoints, you see how each person is dealing with the situation. However, I don't think it was that compelling a dilemma. The book twisted the ideas to make Charlotte's choice it appear more awful than it actually should have been. I think the ending was obvious but with a twist that seemed just there for the sake of being a twist, just to shock the reader. If you've never read Picoult before, I wouldn't start with this book - try My Sister's Keeper or Plain Truth instead. If you are a fan of Picoult, you might like to try this one for yourself anyway.


  1. I usually enjoy Jodi Piccoult too, but haven't read this one. Sometimes her stories are just too much for me though- I prefer more realistic stories I guess. But what do i know, maybe this is realistic??

  2. Yeah I read this book and wasn't a fan, and I usually like her books. And I agree with you on the twist at the end, I think it was just there for the sake of being there and that feels cheap. I bought her new one, meant to read it on the plane over here (but got distracted) but I'm nervous about it, because I get tired of the usual twists.

  3. I have trouble with Jodi Picoult. I think she's wholly engaging, but her books sometimes feel a bit to gimmicky. I did like Salem Falls, though.


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