These last few days I’ve tended to bury my head in a book to try and escape the bitter cold outside. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult is the type of read that her fans have grown to expect and love. She may not always please her readers, but she certainly makes us all think about hard questions in ethics, legality and relationships.
This book is no real surprise, however I should remind you that Picoult’s endings invariably have a twist. The topic chosen is of a family with a young child coping with osteogenesis imperfecta – or brittle bone disease. The subject is handled in gruelling detail through the eyes of several of the main characters. Basically, the medical bills and sheer stress are crippling the family and they decide to embark on a lawsuit for wrongful birth against the consulting obstetrician who failed to diagnose the medical condition until the 27th week of pregnancy. Their premis is that given the choice early enough and knowing the tragic facts, they would have terminated the pregnancy. To make matters even more difficult, the obstetrician is the best friend of the mother.
Enough? Because that is only the bare outline of the story. There are several conflicting strands that pull at the heart strings. I enjoy these books – if that is the right word…….. it is more about becoming involved in the stories and being compelled to read on until all is clear. I don’t want to put in any more spoilers than that.
It is true to say that Jodi Picoult has found a formula that works and she is sticking with it. One writing device she employs is to punctuate sections of the narrative with a contrasting yet strangely parallel offering, of something totally different, to give a break in the tension and to help the reader enter into the dynamics of the story even more. In this case it is about cooking. She doesn’t give a recipe for yogurt cake (!) but I understand how baking can become an antidote or coping mechanism for stress.
Marks? I’m only going to give it an 8 out of 10, however, I am prepared to be convinced to raise it. Have you read it? I’d be interested in reactions please.