Friday, 17 July 2015

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Started: 30th June
Finished: 10th July

So after not really enjoying Harvesting The Heart, what did I do? I chose to read another Jodi Picoult novel, primarily about a mother and child.


Again, there will be spoilers!

Willow was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, otherwise known as Brittle Bone Disease. After an accident at Disney World, her parents seek legal advice to see if they can sue, but instead the lawyers suggest that they may have a case for 'wrongful birth'. Willow's mum, Charlotte, is keen to pursue the case, as winning it would ensure financial security for the rest of Willow's life. However, it would mean that she'd be suing her obstetrician, who is also her best friend, for malpractice, as she failed to spot a very early symptom of OI on an ultrasound. More significantly, going ahead with the case means that Charlotte would have to stand up in court and say (in effect) that she wished her daughter hadn't been born.

Willow's dad doesn't want to consider the case, and in the end offers to be a witness for the opposing legal team, and even files for divorce, as he can't comprehend that Charlotte is willing to suggest that she'd have had a termination had she known about the OI early enough.

Meanwhile, six-year old Willow is acutely aware of what is going on, and feels that it's her fault that her family is breaking apart, and her older sister Amelia is virtually invisible to her warring parents, as she slowly sinks into a spiral of self harm and bulimia.

All very morally and emotionally traumatic so far. And now for the big spoiler.

Charlotte wins the case, and is awarded damages of $8 million. They never get around to cashing the cheque. And then Willow goes outside one day, and because she's never been allowed (or able) to skate on the frozen pond at the back of the house, she slowly crawls onto the ice on her hands and knees. And the ice breaks. And she drowns. And Charlotte puts the cheque in the coffin with her. And why the hell did I read this book?! Why did Willow have to die in the end? It all seemed like such a waste, all the anguish and heartache they went through, and it was for nothing. I can understand why Charlotte wanted to make financial arrangements for the future, every parent wants to know that their child will be taken care of, but I can't help feeling that she'd have been better off spending her time enjoying her children - both of them - while she had the chance.

I know, I know, it's just a fictional story, but ooh that ending really annoyed me!!

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