Sunday, April 5, 2009

Handle With Care- my thoughts

Handle With Care

Jodi Picoult
Published 2009
477 pages

From Goodreads:
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

Other reviews:

**If I missed yours let me know and I'll add it!!


  1. I've read a number of mixed reviews of this book--from people who loved it and think it's her best to others who found in it lacking. But even then, most people who were disappointed enjoyed it still. I have only read a handful of Picoult's books, each of which I enjoyed. I do want to read her other books, including this one. Great review, Staci!

  2. Thanks for your review. I can't wait to read it.

  3. I always wanted to read one of her books. I never did. Rumor has it that she has a great name ;)

    Hope you are doing great!

    Thanks about the new look of the blog. I wanted a change. My hubby laughed when I told him he should be in a Bon Jovi video. When I first met him, he reminded me of Vince Gill. He gets told different things by everyone. LOL!

  4. I've been in the mood for one of her books but haven't seen any at the library. I think I'll wait awhile before I pick this one up. Interesting review ;)

  5. Staci, they DO still make it!! The author told me she found it and bought a bunch for the purses. So it's still out there!

    I was a bit iffy about the new Picoult book too....I still really enjoyed it though!

  6. It's too bad you didn't enjoy this one as much as her earlier books. I have several Jodi Picoult's on my TBR pile, but I don't think I will add this one to it - at least not until after I've read of few more of her books (I think I've only read one so far).

  7. I've noticed with Picoult's last few books that I haven't enjoyed them as much as her first ones. I've heard mixed feelings on this one but you know her books usually generate that type of response anyway. I'll still give it a go when I have a moment to breathe from the other stuff. lol.

  8. Thanks for your review of this. I think I'm going to try it and see how it goes. Picoult's last book, I read the first chapter and then realized I didn't want to spend hours with the characters and the topic, so I looked at the last chapters and took it back to the library. It was very freeing! In any case, I do think her older books were more enjoyable, the newer ones are just missing something for me.

  9. The reviews for this one seem to be all over the place. I still want to read it, though.

  10. I've seen mixed reviews for this one. I tend to enjoy Picoult, but there have been a few recently that I thought weren't as good as her earlier books. I hope to read this one eventually. Thanks for the honest review.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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