Handle With Care

Handle With Care

A Novel

eBook - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Things break all the time. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Promises break. Hearts break. Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health. Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life? Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, c2009.
ISBN: 9781439156308
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Subjects: Electronic books.
Osteogenesis imperfecta -- Fiction.
Wrongful life -- Fiction.
Medical care, Cost of -- Fiction.
Parents of children with disabilities -- Fiction.
Mothers -- Psychology -- Fiction.
Physician and patient -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Fiction.

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 16, 2019

I am a somewhat fickle reader and it takes a lot for me to get into a book, but I seriously could not put it down. Chapters are short so it's easy to pick up and put down again. She tells it in the second-person narrative, which helps create the sense that you are being talked to. Very emotional, intense, with good plot twists from beginning, middle, and ending.

Aug 09, 2018

Read but want to read again.

May 22, 2018

I've read and enjoyed most of Ms. Picoult's works. However, this one was a disappointment. First, it followed the formula of My Sister's Keeper. Secondly, the characters were not likeable, especially Charlotte. If you're new to this author, skip this one.

Sep 18, 2015

The characters were well written and the topics well researched. Unlike the other Picoult books I've read I was never rooting for Charlotte. The ending was both incredibly sad and awesomely poetic.

Aug 22, 2015

I love Jodi Picoult. I believe I've given every other book I've read by her 5 stars. This one was well written and clever. However, there were quite a number of parts that I really found difficult to believe. The description of OI was VERY interesting. I knew very little about it and appreciated the obvious, extensive research she did for the book, as always. One last thing (spoiler alert)...I hated the ending.

Rhpl_sbr Aug 18, 2015

My first JP novel, and I am hooked!

May 04, 2015

Handle with Care was another well written novel by Jodi Picoult. A heart wrenching story of Willow O'Keefe born with osteogenisis imperfecta from the perspective of her mother, father, sister and other characters. I could not put it down.

Jan 03, 2015

Such a good read as usual with Picoult. This book in particular deals with the question of who should be allowed to live (if such a question should evev be asked - the absurdity) and how "disabled" must a child be in order to not get to live. It's also about friendship and whether bonds can really stand through anything. I highly recommend it, if not for the twist at the end!

Dec 08, 2014

Picoult tackles some complex issues here--children with severe disabilities, "wrongful life" lawsuits, the prohibitive cost of health care, teenage eating disorders, and moral conflicts between motherhood, marriage, and friendship. She pulls it off well for the most part, creating strong and memorable characters involved in a basically no-win situation. Imagine a child born with seven bone fractures--and several more in the birth process...and hundreds more to come in the course of her lifetime. Picoult has led us to feel the pain and the miracle of this child's life, and the anguish experienced by her family. She fails to make the five-star mark for me because her writing is a bit over the top, and she has a rather annoying habit of trying to end each chapter with a profound/ironic/wry statement. Sometimes these hit the mark, but more often just seem too obvious.

Jul 09, 2014

Best book I ever read

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Aug 03, 2013

"Nobody really cared about her here. The reason people copied her and fawned over her had very little to do with who she was, and far more to do with who they needed her to be, to make up for some gaping hole in their own lives." (319)

Aug 03, 2013

"...this is where you start, when everything around you has gone to pieces." (409)

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

“People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that's not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

“It was one thing to make a mistake; it was another thing to keep making it. I knew what happened when you let yourself get close to someone, when you started to believe they loved you: you'd be disappointed. Depend on someone, and you might as well admit you're going to be crushed, because when you really needed them, they wouldn't be there. Either that, or you'd confide in them and you added to their problems. All you ever really had was yourself, and that sort of sucked if you were less than reliable.”

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

“When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it's safe inside your mouth.”

busyinbillspants Jun 05, 2012

"You can't win. Either you have the baby and wear your pain on the outside, or you don't have the baby and you keep that ache in you forever. I know I didn't do the wrong thing. But I don't feel like I did the right thing, either."


Add Age Suitability
Mar 23, 2012

EvilLibrarianz thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 22, 2011

twilight5 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary
Dec 04, 2017

I think this is the ne about the black nurse who is reprimanded for handling a white baby. Very interesting presentation of story from all viewpoints.

Aug 03, 2013

Willow is the perfect child. She is kind, intelligent and never complains. Except she was born with a debilitating disease known as Osteogenisis Imperfecta, or OI, which makes her bones particularly brittle and susceptible to breaks. Throughout her childhood, however, more than just her bones break. When Willow's mother Charlotte O'Keefe is given the opportunity to make Willow's life the best possible, she jumps to the chance. However, this decision comes with great costs. In the end, relationships, families, and hearts can be just as brittle as Willow's bones.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at GCPL

To Top