Willow O’Keefe is born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, which means she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, and a lifetime of pain. As the family struggles to cover medical expenses, her mother Charlotte decides to file a wrongful birth lawsuit against her obstetrician for the compensation which might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow.
But it means that Charlotte has to say in a court of law that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance. And the obstetrician she’s suing isn’t just her physician – she’s her best friend.
Handle with Care is an absorbing narrative which also questions the basis of medical ethics and of personal morality. What rights do parents or doctors have to terminate a life? How disabled is too disabled? As a parent, how far would you go to save someone you love?
“You men out there who think Ms. Picoult is a chick thing need to get with the program. Her books are an everyone thing, and the current offering — about a little girl whose bones are so brittle that they break almost at a puff of wind — is her best since My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a legal/medical thriller, but at bottom it’s a story about the American heart of darkness: a small-town marriage under stress. Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance and never descends into soap opera.” Stephen King
“Jodi Picoult crafts yet another fascinating story and again finds a solution to what seems an impossible situation. Her writing is a decadent treat, just like the sweet recipes she infuses throughout the book. ” Orlando Sentinel
“It’s well written, it’s conscientiously researched and, most important, it presents a character who is a child instead of a disability personified…Handle With Care is a great read, with strong characters, an exciting lawsuit to pull you along and really good use of the medical context. ” Washington Post
“Handle With Care is everything faithful readers would expect from Picoult, handled in her thoughtful, elegiac prose…provocative and complex.” BookPage magazine
Picoult, a master of the domestic landscape, creates a dramatic page turner, relentlessly driving home what doctors tell Charlotte at Willow’s birth: “You can’t live a life without impact.” FOUR STARS. People magazine
“Perennial bestseller Picoult delivers another engrossing family drama, spiced with her trademark blend of medicine, law and love. ” Publisher’s Weekly