Handle With Care is written from the POV of 5 of the book's characters.
Charlotte & Sean O'Keefe: the parents
Piper Reece: Charlotte's best friend & OB/GYN
Marin Gates: Charlotte's lawyer
Amelia: Charlotte's 12 year old daughter
The thing they have in common is that they are, in turns, speaking to Willow, the 6 year old daughter of Sean & Charlotte. Willow is a funny, sweet, and precocious little girl with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is also known as "brittle bone disease." This disorder is characterized by a lack of collagen in the bones and makes it extremely easy for bones to break.
When we meet the O'Keefes they are embarking on their first family vacation to Disney Land, of course, where they hope Willow will enjoy herself and not have any breaks. Unfortunately, it seems life and the gods are against them and it's not long after they get there that Willow, slipping on a paper napkin, breaks a bone in her leg. Willow is swiftly taken to a local ER where the family discovers they'd forgotten to bring the letter from her doctor stating that Willow has OI, and things go from bad to worse. Amelia gets taken to foster care and Sean & Charlotte are put under arrest and stay in jail overnight. When they get back to New Hampshire Sean says he wants to sue the Florida hospital and police department and contacts a lawyer.
It is there that the crux of the story begins; they're told they have no case against Florida but are asked several questions about Willow and events leading up to her birth and soon Charlotte is filing a "wrongful birth" suit against her OB/GYN and best friend, Piper.
To me, this story is a very good one but it would've been a great one if not for being written in the 5 voices, Picoult's done this before in Songs of the Humpback Whale and I didn't like that one much at all. There are times when the character seem to still be talking to "you" which is Willow but then it's the parent's making out or fighting. I found that would jar me right out of the story. That, and it boggles my mind what Amelia is doing and that both parents are not seeing. But I don't have kids myself and I do remember how little mine knew about me and what I'd do. So, I do know kids can show one face to their family and another to their friends.
But, I'd say this story biggest disappointment was that we never heard things from Willow herself, though, the she was the center of it. I was really impressed by the research done into OI and how well she portrayed a disabled kid (yep, they're just like other kids) and not only what they go through but what their non-disabled siblings may go through, too. She kept it even-handed, I thought, though your heart breaks for Willow you're not thinking "get over it!" towards Amelia. Honestly, if I ever met a kid as awesome as Willow I'd probably be tempted to steal her.
Grade: B+ or 4 stars