A great read with compelling subplots

2009-08-12 00:00

FRAGILITY is the veil which surrounds every relationship we have. It can take just one incident to ruin a friendship, a marriage, or a close bond with a family member. A career can be annihilated in a day and a life forever changed in a trice. An abnormality on a DNA strand can mean the difference between normality and a life of disablement.

Handle with Care examines the multiple consequences of a wrongful birth law suit, initiated by the Catholic mother of a severely physically challenged child.

Charlotte O’Keefe is the mother of Willow, a six-year-old girl born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition which manifests in very brittle bones which break at the slightest bump. Willow, diminutive, and intellectually advanced, is so fragile that if she trips and falls she runs the risk of multiple fractures. Body casts and pain are the norm in Willow’s life. A wheelchair and dependence, a given after a bad break.

Charlotte’s gynae, Piper, just happens to be her very best friend. A consultation with an attorney on another matter plants the seed of a wrongful birth lawsuit against Piper into Charlotte’s mind, beginning the chain of events which will challenge the stability of the relationships of all those she loves.

Although a successful law suit will mean the end of their financial worry for Willow’s future, it means betraying Piper and admitting that if she had known that Willow would be so badly disabled, she would have had an abortion. And did I mention, she is Catholic?

With compelling subplots, Handle with Care is a great read, in the familiar style of Jodi Picoult, where the main characters are narrators by turn.

Picoult fans will not be disappointed. I ignored the world and slipped beneath both the book’s and my bed’s covers. A wonderful weekend’s read.

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