The Bottom Line
- 'Handle with Care' is a page turner.
- Picoult develops the characters well.
- 'Handle with Care' raises lots of talking points for book clubs.
- 'Handle with Care' is depressing.
- The scenario is extreme -- not entirely believable.
- 'Handle with Care' by Jodi Picoult was first published in March 2009.
- Publisher: Atria
- 496 Pages
Guide Review - 'Handle with Care' by Jodi Picoult - Book Review
Handle with Care is the story of a family with two daughters. The second was born with brittle bone disease, a condition that makes her bones break easily and that limits her height and movement. When Willow (the daughter with a disability) is four, her parents decide to sue their OB for "wrongful birth," claiming that Willow's condition should have been diagnosed earlier in the pregnancy so that they could have terminated the pregnancy. Sound controversial? Add to it the fact that the OB is the mother's best friend, who has remained close to the family since the birth, then throw in a neglected and bulimic older sibling, and you have classic Picoult.
Extreme as it is, Handle with Care works well because the characters are complicated and it is not clear where the plot will go. As a reader, you may find yourself unsure of what you want -- do you hope the family wins so that they can pay their medical bills and provide a better life for their daughters or do you think the parents are being selfish and that no amount of money can undo hearing that your parents may not have wanted you? This is one of many ethical questions Handle with Care raises, which is why it would be a good choice for book clubs looking for lively conversation.