Monday, October 26, 2009

So I'm always halfway done with the book Handle With Care and the plot is just starting to get interesting. The O'Keefes have just filed their lawsuit and tensions are high. Here is a passage describing Sean's reaction when he found out about Willow's disease and how such a small moment can have such a huge impact on the lives of others.
It never failed to amaze me how the most ordinary day could be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye. Take the mother who was handing a toy to her toddler in the backseat one moment, and in a massive motor vehicle accident the next. Or the frat boy who was chugging a beer on his porch as we drove up to arrest him for sexually assaulting another student. The wife who opened the door to fine a police officer bearing the news of her husband's death. In my job, I've often been present at the transition when the would as you new it became the disaster you never expected-but I had not been on the receiving end before. -pg. 144

As a police officer, Sean is expected to encounter hardship and turmoil in the lives of others every day. Even with his tough skin, it's hard to imagine how he was feeling when he found out that Willow was carrying a life threatening disease. This passage is poignant because it walks the reader through the lives of others as their worlds turn upside down. In her books, Jodi Picoult does an excellent job of making the reader feel as if what happens in the book is happening to them. The personal connections that Sean talks about help make the book realistic. While reading this, I'm constantly wondering why such bad things happen to good people like the O'Keefes. They were living a normal life when the discovery of Willow's disease happened. The only thing that people can do is try to discover a cure for osteogenesis imperfecta and help support those who have it. Here's a link if you want to learn more.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am continuing to read the book Handle With Care by Jody Picoult and I am starting to uncover poignant moments in each of the characters' lives. In this passage, Charlotte, Willow's mother, found out that she may be able to sue her OBGYN on account of wrongful birth. A wrongful birth lawsuit states that if a mother had known that their child was going to be significantly impaired, they would have chosen to abort the fetus. Charlotte is getting in touch with her darkest fears in this passage and questions of morality come up as well.
What if it was someone's fault?
The idea was just the germ of a seed, carried in the hollow beneath my breastbone when we left the law offices. Even when i was lying awake next to Sean, I heard it as a drumbeat in my blood: what if, what if, what if. For five years now I had loved you, hovered over you, held you when you had a break. I had gotten exactly what I so desperately wished for: a beautiful baby. So how could I admit to anyone-much less myself- that you were not only the most wonderful thing in the world that had happened to me... but also the most exhausting, the most overwhelming? pg. 60

Like any loving parent, Charlotte loves Willow, even with her flaws. Charlotte is having trouble accepting the fact that Willow's condition may have actually been someones fault. I love the imagery when Charlotte describes her doubt as a germ of a seed. It makes it seem like her doubt is gradually growing to a point where she will no longer be able to suppress it. Blaming someone specifically for the condition that Willow has to live with. Charlotte must also be feeling guilty for being the one who gave birth to Willow and giving her the disease, even if it wasn't intentional. Charlotte's mixed and confused feelings help add an interesting layer of texture to the unfolding plot.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


So right now I have just started the book by Jodi Picoult titled Handle with Care. This book explores the different roles each of the O'Keefe family members must take on when Willow is born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that makes her bones extremely brittle and breakable. When the family takes a vacation to Disney World, Willow trips on a napkin and is seriously injured. When the O'Keefes arrive at the hospital, they discover that Amelia, Willow's sister, forgot to bring the doctors note stating that Willow is diagnosed with OI. Because of this, Sean O'Keefe, the father of Willow and Amelia, is accused of child abuse and Amelia is taken to a temporary foster home. Here is a passage when Amelia feels like she has no control over her life.
"I could not tell you what made me go into the bathroom that was attached to my room-wallpaper spotted with pink roses, shaped soaps curled in dishes next to the sink-and stick my finger down my throat. Maybe it was because I could feel the toxic stuff seeping into my bloodstream, and I wanted it out. Maybe it was punishment. Maybe it was because I wanted to control one part of me that had been uncontrollable, so the rest of me would fall into line. Rats can't throw up, you'd told me once; it popped into my head now. With one hand holding up my hair, I vomited into the toilet until I was flushed and sweating and empty and relieved to learn that, yes, I could do this one thing right, even if it made me feel worse than I had before. With my stomach cinching and bile bitter on the back of my tongue, I felt horrible-but this time there was a physical reason i could point to." pg.27
Amelia is feeling some complicated emotions right now. She feels mainly guilt for forgetting Willow's hospital papers. She also feels trapped and confused because sometimes she wonders what life would be like if she was born into a more normal family. She's in an unfamiliar place and probably doesn't fully understand why her parents were taken away from her. She is also feeling mixed feelings about her body image and the way others perceive her. Amelia vomits into the toilet because she wants control of her life instead living life with no security in the future. I feel sorry for Amelia because he life has been shaped around Willow's disease. While people feel sympathy for Willow as they see her in her various casts and braces, people never stop to think about the other sister. All of these mixed up emotions cause Amelia to want to take control of her life but the only way she knows how is to force herself to throw up. I'm excited to see how Amelia's character progresses throughout the book and how the rest of her family will deal with her budding psychological issues.