Monday, November 30, 2009

Finished Handle With Care

So I finally finished the insanely long book Handle With Care. It was poignant and left me thinking long after I set the book down. My heart ached for the O'Keefe family as they went through heartbreak after heartbreak, from Mr. and Mrs. O'Keefe's almost divorce to Amelia's eating disorder and self abuse. At the end of the book when the O'Keefes received the money from the settlement I was hoping that everything would turn out okay for this close knit family. But, alas, the ending was not a happy one. The book ends with Willow taking a deathly swim into the pond by their house and never resurfacing. This ending makes me mad just thinking about it. Everything the O'Keefes fought for was for Willow and here she goes getting herself accidentally killed. Everything that her mother and father and sister dreamed of Willow achieving with the settlement money goes down the drain. Here is an excerpt from her death:
There was glass above me, and the runny eye of the sun in the sky, and I beat my fists against it. It was like the ice had sealed itself on top of me again, and I couldn't push through. I was so numb. I had stopped shivering.
As the water filled my nose and mouth, as the sun got tinier and tinier, I closed my eyes and curled my fists around the things I knew for sure:
That a scallop has thirty-five eyes, all blue.
That a tuna will suffocate if it ever stops swimming.
That I was loved.
That this time, it was not me who broke. pg. 473
This is a calming death for Willow because she finally achieves her dream of walking out on to the ice. Also the fact that the ice broke and not Willow is a powerful symbol. It shows her resilience through this entire book and how she stuck through thick and thin. Willow didn't die from her illness, and I believe that this makes her a hero. I love that the last chapter is from the perspective of Willow. All of the book is from the perspective of her different family members so I think this change in view is a good way to finalize the book. This was a beautiful book and even though I detest the ending because of Willow's unnecessary demise I would definitely read this book again.