reading list: handle with care

this post could have easily been titled the mother of all headaches, but that would have been a little pitiful. i’ve been pretty down this week because i haven’t been able to shake this headache. it’s not really a pain, per se … more like just PRESSURE on the side of my poor little head. i’ve basically just been laying around being lazy and reading.

this book, for example, only took me a few hours to read. i just couldn’t put it down. i’ve been reading books by Jodi Picoult for as long as i can remember and they never get old. she really does her research and her books are always loaded with facts, even though the characters may be fictional – the story is always great and i always walk away feeling like i’ve learned something (without being beaten over the head with it, no pun intended).

here’s a brief description, per the author’s website.

When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain.

As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

Handle With Care explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?

this book gets a little touchy in places, but i think it’s a good read for anyone, no matter what side of the pro-life/pro-choice movement you’re on. i feel like a loot of women could inadvertently end up in this same position if some of the proposed bills against abortion that are on the table right now are passed. i can’t say what i would do in such a situation, but this book really makes you think about where you stand.
each chapter is told by one of the main characters of the book, as if it were being written as a letter toward the little girl with OI – a great strategy for a story like this because it really helps you get into the mind of everyone and see their opinions on the issue. i also love that you get exactly enough info on OI to understand the impact it’s having on this family without feeling like you’re reading a medical textbook.
if you’ve seen My Sister’s Keeper (Picoult wrote the book the movie was based on) then i can tell you the story runs along the same lines of making difficult choices. there are parts in which  started to drift off a little bit, but overall i enjoyed the story. if you decide to read it, be on the lookout for a twist at the end!
  • have you read this book or any other’s by Jodi Picoult?
  • if so, what did you think?
  • what are you reading right now?

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