Monday, October 15, 2012

Handle with care by Jodi Picoult

I found this book in one of those untouched shelves in the library one day when I was too bored waiting for dinner time. "Handle With Care" is my first Jodi Picoult book. I love this. A heart wrenching book which started with this little girl Willow who had Type III Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) when she was born. It is a bone brittle disease which Willow would have hundreds of bone breaking in her lifetime whenever there is a slightest knock on her bone, even a sneeze. When she was born, she had four healing fractures, recieved three more just from the nurse handling her, and suffered a broken rib and punctured lung all within her first days. Having OT, she needed extra care in her lifetime and a tremendous amount of money which stress her parents Sean and Charlotte out as they are struggling every day to take care of her, to cover her insurance, wheelchair, custom fitted braces and hospital bills when she breaks her bone.

This is how Charlotte, her mom's narration on Willow's frequency of bone breaking in the book:

"Your first seven breaks happened before you entered this world. The next four happened minutes after you were born, as a nurse lifted you out of me. Another nine, when you were being resuscitated in the hospital, after you coded. The tenth: when you were lying across my lap and suddenly I heard a pop. Eleven was when you rolled over and your arm hit the edge of the crib. Twelve and thirteen where femur fractures; fourteen a tibia; fifteen a compression fracture of the spine…twenty-three happened in your sleep; twenty-four and twenty-five were a fall forward in the snow that snapped both forearms at once…twenty-eight happened during a sneeze; twenty-nine and thirty were ribs you broke on the edge of the kitchen table...."

During a vacation to Disney Land, Willow's femurs broke and the police of the park thought that her bone broke were out of child abuse. Willow's parents were escorted to the police station, leaving two of their children Willow and Amelia in the hospital and the foster home themselves. With anger they intended to file a lawsuit to against the park, while eventually they found out a different lawsuit where they could sue their obstetrician, Piper who is also Charlotte's best friend for failing to inform them about Willow's OT, which they could have aborted Willow as wrongful birth. When Charlotte was told that they might win a large amount of money as much as $8 million if they won the case and it would secure Willow's future, she insisted in filing this lawsuit even though it requires her to claim to the court that she would have aborted Willow if she was informed about her disease, in front of Willow.

When Charlotte wanted to file this wrongful lawsuit for money, she was in disagreements by her husband Sean who wanted to get a divorce after countless arguments on this case. Charlotte's another daughter, Amelia was having bulimia and self injures due to jealousy as her parents have cared too much for Willow. Piper once being Charlotte's best family friend was forced to quit her job. Major parts of the book describe how this family went though when the lawsuit was going on.

Facing confusions whether to continue with this lawsuit which would hurt her best friend who supported her all the way, and also hurting Amelia when she would hear her own mother claiming that she was the wrongful birth, Charlotte insisted filing this lawsuit for the sake of Willow's future even when her own husband disagree with her. 

It was even heart wrenching when the story ended with the death of Willow, buried with the $8 million check  which was not cashed out after winning the lawsuit. Willow deserved better. Or is this the best for her, ending all her suffering at last? 

What would you do if you were Charlotte? I hate Charlotte and I love her even more, being committed to protect her baby till the end of the book. How far would you go to protect someone you love?

This is the saddest book I have ever read. I love Jodi Picoult :)

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