Friday, July 23, 2010
Handle with Care
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?
Cover: The Handle with Care cover is sweet. It's different from the types of covers my other Jodi Picoult books have had. It makes more sense once you've read some of the book.
Characters: Picoult always does a great job developing her characters. Willow was my favorite. She was such a unique character, and there actually wasn't much written from her point of view. Despite this, her feelings and thoughts were still expressed clearly. Picoult did this through the interactions Willow had with the other characters.
Writing: Picoult always does an excellent job at telling stories. I always talk about how I enjoy her stories being told from different perspectives. It's also always clear that she does her research before writing her books. I really like that about her writing, too.
Plot: Picoult's books usually have a major topic that pushes people's buttons. She approaches these things in a way that makes them less scary, though. For example, this book raised the question of whether it's better to have a baby knowing he/she will have disabilities or aborting the baby once learning of this. Like all major issues, there are going to be people who fall on either side. This particular family was split because of how they felt regarding the issue. I was also shocked at how the book ended. The last book I read was My Sister's Keeper, and I was shocked by that ending, too. Picoult has really mastered the concept of "surprise twist."
Overall: 4/5 I really enjoyed this book. I love how she makes readers think about things they would normally avoid and question their own choices. I was also really impressed with the twist at the end.