18 Sep 2015

HANDLE WITH CARE.


Handle with CareHANDLE WITH CARE by JODI PICOULT.

BACK COVER BLURB: Willow O'Keefe had seven broken bones before she took her first breath.

Now her life is lived on a knife-edge. Born with brittle bone disease, she will never learn to skate like her sister. Even walking can be dangerous: one wrong step and she is back in a cast.

The medical bills are crippling her family. So when a lawyer tells Charlotte, her mother, that they might have a case to sue for wrongful birth, she feels bound to consider it.

Except that winning would mean losing her best friend - and telling the world that she wishes her much-longed-for, adored daughter had never been born ...

FIRST SENTENCE{Prologue: Charlotte, February 14, 2002}: Things break all the time.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 137}: Sometimes I think there's a beast that lives inside me, in the cavern where my heart should be, and every now and then it fills every last inch of my skin, so that I can't help but do something inappropriate. It's breath is full of lies, it smells of spite. And just at this moment, it chose to rear its ugly head.

SOURCE: A charity shop buy.

MY THOUGHTS: Formulaic as I've come to expect of Ms Picoult's books. I guess the key (or one of them at least) as to whether or not/how much you enjoy this authors books lies in whether or not/how much you have an interest in the issue(s) at the heart of the story. And with its issues of disability I was bound to enjoy Handle With Care, right?

You'd have thought so, wouldn't you? And up to a point you'd have been correct. I tend to enjoy Jodi's books and had more than a passing interest in the issues but I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it weren't for ...

  • Mother, Charlotte and youngest daughter, Willow. Now whilst I've come to accept as a matter of fact that the chances are I won't like the mother figure at the heart of these books I was surprised at how little I cared for Willow. Of course I empathised with her BUT I'm afraid I found her character implausible. And more than that I thought how she was portrayed quite frankly nauseating. Something I could rant about ad infinitum but won't except to say that I hated that she was portrayed as so stoic, as so uncomplaining. Physically limited, yes, but when all is said and done an otherwise 'normal' five/six year old with surely all of the tantrums etc that go with being this age. 
  • Not that I found Willow the only totally unrealistic character - thinking about it now whilst I didn't exactly like older daughter Amelia she was actually the only characters I found totally believable. Talk about unprofessional, how either of the two lawyers were still practising I'll never know.
  • The ludicrousness of certain aspects of the plot and I quote 'Boys the same age were terrorizing the escalators, teaching each other how to ride their wheelchairs up and down them.' What? 
  • The inclusion of the recipes. OK so Charlotte had been a pastry chef but I just didn't get the need for the inclusion of recipes. The cynical side of me wondering if this was just a nod towards the 'foodie' books that are so popular at the moment.
  • The issues of abortion. Arguably it isn't part of a novel's job to debate the rights and wrongs of these issues but the exploration of such moral dilemmas is one of the things I enjoy most about Jodi's books. Somewhat lacking here I thought the 'debate' disappointingly one-sided. 
Still, all-in-all compulsive reading. If nothing else its always fascinating to compare the health/legal systems of the US and UK.

10 comments:

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

Someone I know loves Picoult, but otherwise just the media attention (from which her writing does sound a bit similar over time). The story summary sounds okay, quite dramatic, though with the wheelchair quote and your point about tantrums... a child could be less prone but if it's there just because she thinks it works in context... I'll give this a miss. I have one of her books that was written with her daughter, YA I think, and do wonder how that might change things up.

Brandi Kosiner said...

I enjoy Picoult at times as well

Kelly said...

I've still not read anything from this author, but plan to at some point. This one doesn't particularly appeal to me. I've got two others on my wish list that my brother has recommended.

I'm sorry this one fell short for you.

frayedattheedge said...

I have read quite a few of her books, and while this wasn't one of her better ones, I still found it gripping.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Formulaic isn't bad as long as you aren't promised original. I don't mind it if I expect it. Sorry that this one wasn't great for you but at least it was interesting. :)

Brian Joseph said...

I have heard a lot about this book.

I think realism in a work like this would be essential so it is disappointing that it is missing.

I also agree that the recipes would get very annoying,

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I am usually intrigued by the big issues she tackles in her books and the varying points of view. Sorry this one's characters seemed to be lacking a bit. Still sounds like a quick and interesting book that will make me think. :)

Alexia561 said...

You're right that her books are more appealing if you're interested in the subject matter, but not so much otherwise. Sorry this one fell short for you. I think I'll give it a pass as I need to have at least one character to root for!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I have never read any Picoult books, although I have a few of her early ones on my shelf, courtesy of my MIL.

It does sound as though Jodi tries to tackle some of the big physical and moral issues, however unless the background research is solid and the storyline hangs together well with the facts, then it is possibly a venture doomed not to connect with many readers ... including myself infortunately.

Thanks for the honesty in this review and for backing up your thoughts with your excellent reasoning :)

Yvonne

Gina R said...

Wow. Seems like it has a lot more going on behind the cover than meets the eye.