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on 7 March 2010
I've read a lot of Ms Picoult's work and generally enjoy it - though it has been a bit hit and miss over the years.
I just found that I was reading a mash up of her other stories here really, particularly My sister's keeper. The characters were all very similar - with the well meaning but left out sister, sick kid, dad who seems like superman but is generally down trodden and over bearing mother. It's all a bit 'yeah been there, done that'.
It's generally okay, alright story, okay characters, interesting focus on a disease that's fairly rare. Worth a read if you're an avid Picoult fan - but otherwise I'd go for one of her other works such as Nineteen minutes (I've read it twice) or Perfect Match.

Also, the last chapter, particularly the last two-ish pages of this book were some of the most irritating I've read in a while.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2009
I am a great fan of Jodi Picoult, I've read 8 of her books - and therein lies the problem - she is starting to become very formulaic. Handle With Care is very reminiscent of My Sister's Keeper, with brittle bone disease in place of leukemia.

Willow (what a wonderful name!) is born with OI - Osteogenesis imperfecta. Before birth seven bones have broken and healed, by the time she's five, she's suffered over 50 breaks. Her whole life is centred around avoiding danger, where a small slip may result in a hospital visit. Her older sister, Amelia, loves her dearly but also feels very ostracised by the effects of the disease and the time her parents must spend with Willow.
Income is tight, Willow's Dad is a police officer and her Mum was once a pastry chef. The disease is financially crippling, for special wheelchairs, physiotherapy not covered by insurance etc. So when Charlotte discovers that she can sue her obstetrician (who also happens to be her best friend) for not informing her about Willow's condition with enough time to abort, she sees it as a solution to their financial problems; allowing Willow the necessary support and equipment that they are struggling to fund.
This causes all sorts of stresses within the family, interactions that are beautifully covered by the author. To my mind, this is where Jodi Picoult excells. She's also brilliant with the reality of living with disability and the effects it has on a family.

I didn't think the spasmodic recipies served much purpose, while obviously intended to have a double meaning, they seemed a bit unnecessary.

While I still admire Picoult's depiction of sibling interactions and parental heart searching, I am tiring of the ubiquitous court case and the story line is starting to feel very familiar. She is a wonderful writer but needs to find a fresh angle surprise us again.
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on 10 January 2010
I really like Picoult because they're quite thought provoking books. However, the last few I've read, including this one, are all getting a bit similar. The stories all seem to follow the same basic structure and are becoming a little bit predictable. When I was reading Handle with Care, it did remind me far too much of My sisters Keeper. I also thought the ending of this book was a bit odd and I actually found myself annoyed by it!
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on 9 February 2010
As always, brilliantly written and researched, full of fabulous characters who come alive. completely let down by the last two pages a completely unnecessary twist to an otherwise great book. My recommendation is to tear out the last two pages, put thim in an envelope and selotape them to the inside cover. If you want an alternative ending when you get to the end the go ahead, break the envelope open. Otherwise, leave it at that.
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on 2 August 2009
Big fan of Jodi but this book is quite similar to a couple of her previous ones. It was worth the read but I feel that the ending really let it down and made the whole story pointless.
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This has many of the hallmarks of a Jodi Picoult book. The plot hangs around a moral dilemma that becomes a court room drama, as several of her previous novels. In this story, the issue under consideration is the idea of "wrongful" birth. Charlotte's daughter, Willow was born with brittle bones and the case centres around whether Piper, her best friend and obstetrician should have diagnosed the condition early enough in her pregnancy to allow Charlotte to make the choice to have an abortion. Charlotte is motivated to bring the case to allow the family to meet their spiralling costs associated with looking after a special needs child, but the ensuing drama risks tearing the entire family apart.
This was an interesting and thought-provoking read which raises with some well-drawn although not altogether pleasant characters. They are ordinary people put into extraordinary circumstances and the pressure shows. If you have enjoyed other JP books, you will probably enjoy this one. I haven't read one of her books for a while, which is probably why I liked this as they are a bit "samey" particularly if you read them one after another.
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on 10 October 2009
I made the mistake of reading this book straight after reading My Sister's Keeper, and found the overall theme and structure of the book so similar that I genuinely struggled in the first few chapters to stop myself getting muddled up with the characters - the father in both books is employed by the emergency services and there is overlooked rebelious sibling in each. Having said that, I thought it was well written and once I had managed to seperate the characters and storylines, I did enjoy it .... until the ending. Without spoiling it, all I can say is that the last couple of pages just didn't need to be written and I fail to see how and why they were. So, go ahead and read this (providing you haven't just read My Sister's Keeper!) and rip the last couple of pages out, and then this book will probably warrant 4 stars instead of 2!!!
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on 27 July 2009
Willow has OI , the brittle bone syndrome, and her family struggle to cope, stay together and make ends meet. Could suing for 'wrongful birth' be the answer or will it threaten to destroy them?

About half way through I wondered whether it was worth finishing this. I hear 'if something ain't broke, don't fix it' , but I think it is 'broke' now, this just seemed very formulaic and predictable, both the situation...done before in My Sister's Keeper and the characters too...loving family broken apart by emotional and moral dilemas.
The court case did pick it up at the end though, I didn't mind the end but the 'cheque' business was very irritating!!

She's an incredibly talented writer and I'll continue to read her new books, but hope she breaks this mould and tries something a little fresher next time
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2010
Handle With Care tells the story of 6 year old Willow who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as brittle bone disease). Her mother, Charlotte, struggling to finacially provide for her disabled daughter
discovers that she can sue for wrongful birth. Can she sue her obstetrician Piper, who is also her best friend? Can she fight against her husband Sean's wishes? And can she really tell her daughter that she wishes she had never been born?

In Jodi Picoult style the story is narrated from multiple viewpoints: Charlotte, Sean, elder daughter Amelia (who feels invisible in the family), Piper and lawyer Marin (with her own struggles from the past). Each chapter is narrated to Willow, except for the final chapter which is narrated by Willow herself. When I first read Willow's chapter I really wished it hadn't been included, however, afterwards the ending stayed with me and is very thought provoking when combined with events from the whole book and I can see why Picoult ended the story in this way.

Throughout the book, the chapters are interspersed with recipes from Charlotte, who was a chef, before looking after her daughter full time. The recipes were cleverly chosen to fit in with the choices of the characters in the book and how one ingredient or process can make something completely different, just like in life.

As with all Picoult books, the story is thoroughly researched, intelligently written and follows the courtroom drama build up that she has become famous for. Yes, her books are very similar in style but for me, it works. Handle With Care isn't up there with some of my favourite Picoult books like The Pact and Plain Truth, however I enjoyed it more than others I have read recently, including Songs of the Humpback Whale and Mercy
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on 14 December 2009
As a fan of Picoult's I'm always staggered as to how she manages to create exactly the right balance between tear-jerking and thought-provoking and this book was no exception. Having read 'Songs of the Humpback Whale' fairly recently and being disappointed by it, I did consider that perhaps Picoult was becoming formulaic in her writing. Thankfully I was wrong!

This book in my opinion is NOTHING like My Sister's Keeper. Sure, there's an ethical dilema involved, courtroom drama etc but that's about the only similarity- characters are fresh, new and you find yourself both emphasising and hating them all at once as families are torn apart and multiple lives are affected by what is unfolding.

This book centers around a young girl born with OI (an extreme type of brittle bone disease) and her mother's heartbreaking decision to sue her doctors for 'wrongful birth' as the medical bills begin to stack up, meaning that if they'd have caught her daughters disease sooner, she'd never have gone through with having her child. It raises all kinds of ethical questions and Picoult's tagline of 'what would YOU do?' is a good one and a husband and wife become divided in their own answer and their fight to do what is best in their love for their daughter. Read it, you won't be sorry you did.
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