I've just finished reading the book Handle with Care written by one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult. First let me sing the praises of Jodi Picoult. I've read eight of her books and I've loved each one. The most unique thing about Jodi is that each chapter in her books is from the viewpoint of one of the characters. So it's like you and you alone are in the mind of each character; you know what they are thinking when the other characters in the book don't.
Handle with Care is the story of a little girl born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which means that she was born with super brittle bones and has broken bones while in the womb and had several more broken during delivery.
Her parents are devastated, but they love their little daughter, broken bones and all and bring her home and learn how to live their lives handling the little girl like she's fine china. Charlotte, the mother, quits working to care for Willow. Sean, the father is on the local police force and he works as many shifts as possible to pay for all the mounting medical bills.
Charlotte had another child prior to marrying Sean and giving birth to Willow. Amelia now has to learn how to survive her pre-teen years in the shadow of her sick sibling. How to lose all the attention of her mother; attention she never had to share with anyone before.
The main point of the story begins when Charlotte has an opportunity to file a "wrongful suit" case against her obstetrician who was not only her doctor but her best friend and Godmother to Willow. Charlotte doesn't regret having given life to Willow and she wouldn't trade her for the world but she realizes that she wasn't given the choice ahead of time to terminate the pregnancy. Although as a devout Catholic she thinks to herself that she would never have terminated the pregnancy she realizes that she never counted of having a disabled child that would require so much attention and medical care.
The matter becomes even more difficult for Charlotte to bear when she loses the friendship of her best friend and doctor Piper. Her husband Sean is against the law suit and agrees to testify for the other side which causes strain in the marriage. Amelia has such a difficult time handling the way adults are ripping her life apart that she goes to extremes to ease the pain in her poor, young heart. And Willow herself has to come to terms with a mother that tells her she loves her unconditionally yet tells the world she should have been given the choice to terminate the pregnancy.
Handle with Care is a great book that makes you think. How disabled is too disabled. When is it a doctors responsibility to counsel termination of a pregnancy. How far would you go to care and provide for a disabled child. Obviously unless you happen to be in those shoes you never really know how you would handle it; but at least it makes you realize what strength parents with disabled children have.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly. You won't want to put it down once you start it. And that's how every single Jodi Picoult book is.