Handle with care
By Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult’s writing always captivated me, even if I could not always agree with some of the protagonists. Handle with care was no different. She picked up another sensitive issue and made it a very interesting read.
Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe after a lot of trying, conceive and they find that the baby, Willow, has a rare condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. She is born with broken bones. And it can only get worse as she grows. A child who can break a bone if held incorrectly, who cannot be hugged, cuddled, unless with great care. A nurse manages to break a bone, right after she is born, by handling her wrong.
As Willow grows older, the stress on the family increases. Charlotte has an elder daughter Amelia, from a previous relationship, who feels the pressure of have a sibling who is so sick.The family’s finances are stretched and the circumstances have begun to take a toll on all of them.
Having had so many broken bones, it is mandatory for Willow’s parents to carry the certificate from her doctor which certifies that she has osteogenesis imperfecta. They forget to carry this to a trip to Disneyland and they are suspected of abusing their daughter. Having so many broken bones can only mean abuse. After the disastrous Disneyland, Sean is all set to sue Disneyland and the hospital for the mental torture, when they are told that they have another option. They could sue their ob-gyn for not recognizing Willow’s condition early enough so that they could have opted for termination.
This would mean that Charlotte would have to sue her best friend and would have to stand up in court and say that she wishes that Willow was never born.
It was a very moving book to read. The kind of pain that Willow has to go through. The feelings that Amelia has to go through, having a mother who has little time for her, though she loves her wholeheartedly. Knowing that everything could go wrong with the slightest mistake. The stress that Charlotte and Sean’s relationship goes through. There are a lot of times when Charlotte comes through as rather mercenary, but again, I guess, someone in her position might just become that way.
It was a gripping read, which kept me absorbed till the last word – like all of Jodi Picoult’s books. It was a book that made me cry, made me thankful for all that I had. The simple pleasures of hugging a child, teaching her to walk, letting her fall, things which we take for granted, might be things which some may never be able to experience…