Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health. Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?
Well, what did I think about Picoult's newest ethical, moral questioning novel? I liked it but there was something missing for me. I enjoy a good book, one that leaves me crying, laughing, mad and one that leaves me unsure and questioning of myself at the end. Picoult's books manage to make me think about issues I would normally never bother with and this one is no different. She made me question myself as to what would I do if I were in this situation and she's very good at making everything grey....there is never a clear cut decision for any of her characters. While I appreciated the spotlight being put on this type of disease Willow had and that there are still some laws on the books that allow people to sue for wrongful birth, which I believe need to be abolished, I couldn't help but walk away from this book not quite satisfied. I've read a lot of other reviews and most everyone does not discount that Picoult is a gifted writer...she is. But I'm finding that her writing is becoming too clinical and stuffy. I liked her books in the past when we actually got to KNOW the characters, now I feel as if the legality and medical issues are the forefront of the book and the characters are in the background, popping out whenever it is convenient. I wanted to get to know Willow from Willow herself, not from all of the other people in her life. I think she had a lot to say but I guess I'll never know. While I don't think this is her best book to-date, it is still a good read. Here are a few passages that hit me in the heartstrings:
You don't have to say I love you to say I love you," you said with a shrug. "All you have to do is say my name and I know."
When I looked down at you, I was struck by how much of myself I could see in the shape of your eyes, in the light of your smile. "Say Cassidy," you instructed.
"Ursula," I parroted.
"Now....," and you pointed to your own chest.
"Can't you hear it?" you said. " When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it's safe inside your mouth."
Here are the things I know for sure:
When you think you're right, you are most likely wrong.
Things that break-be they bones, hearts, or promises-can be put back together but will never really be whole.
And, in spite of what I said, you can miss a person you've never known.
I learn this over and over again, every day I spend without you.
I will end this by sending out a heartfelt request to Picoult---Please go back to way you wrote at the beginning of your writing career, where your books were so character driven and we actually got a real feeling for these people. They came alive inside our minds. I want to fall in love with your beautiful way with words all over again....Please? I miss that, truly I do.
~ A devoted Picoult Reader from the very beginning
A PATCHWORK OF BOOKS
LESLEY'S BOOK NOOK
LORI'S READING CORNER
ME, MY BOOK AND THE COUCH
JUST ADD BOOKS
SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME
**If I missed yours let me know and I'll add it!!