Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Handle with Care: Review

A couple weeks ago while I was having a girl getaway with UberCoach in Ladysmith I finished Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care. Part of me is disappointed with myself for not having the units of self-respect required to put down something that was so unredeemingly sentimental and made-for-tv movie predictable. 

I have an embarrassing love-hate relationship with Jodi Picoult, based solely on the two novels of hers I've read so far - My Sister's Keeper and now the ridiculously similar Handle with Care. What really bugs me is that I find these books completely un-put-downable - I expect better of myself! I have gasped and wept and laughed out loud with the characters. I've longed for the husband to reach out to the besieged wife. I've raged at the doctors and lawyers. And I've hated myself for being sucked into a puddle of treacle. 

View on Amazon
Handle With Care is about an average family - former single mom and older daughter whose lives have now happily merged with the upstanding and ridiculously good looking police officer. The much wanted younger daughter arrives - suddenly they are dealing with an extraordinary circumstance. The baby has osteogenesis imperfecta. Brittle bone disease. And the trite title suddenly comes into focus. 

Based on reading the back cover of the novel I could have timelined every major plot point in the rest of the story. Breaks and heartbreaks. Stress on the marriage. A law suit. Betrayals real and imagined. The older sister disappears while the family worries about the baby. Etc. 

And then I got to the last page. And read the final three paragraphs. And as I put the book down I thought 'Holy Shit! I didn't see that coming' ... I'm not being crass. That's exactly what I thought. 

And yet here I am, highly recommending that you read this book. Even though I felt manipulated. Even though it's unrelentingly predictably. Even though it's written so that you can actually picture the TV movie version (that cop is SO Kyle Chandler in uniform, and who wouldn't want to see that?). Even though there's not one thing about it that will require any heavy mental lifting. 

Read the book. Maybe just visit your dentist afterwards. 


  1. I feel the same way about her books, Shannon. I read the Tenth Circle and it was soooo cheezy but I just couldn't stop. *sigh*

  2. Perhaps we just need to put aside our higher judgements and enjoy. ;-) XO

  3. did i write this? sure seems like it...except i sort of saw it coming based on the cover of the book....but. otherwise - so exactly, exactly the same.

  4. I enjoyed reading most of the book and was amazed at all I learned about OI, and how bravely some people live. I thought the story was a bit drawn out and although the character Willow was a joy to all, there was so much pain all around. It seemed like when things got bad, they would just keep getting worse. Not the reason I choose to read a fiction book! What really bothered me was the ending- I felt it was too much like the ending of My Sister's Keeper.

    1. HI Eesti - it's true - Picoult did seem to be repeating herself here. And not necessarily the best parts. I do wish her stories were as strong as her writing, if that makes sense.


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