Warning: If you are in my book club or don't want to read a spoiler about Handle with Care read no further. I finally finished this book, and I've never been happier...now that it's done! I was not a fan of this book. I've read another Picoult book and am not sure what to think of her as an author. It's obvious that she likes to hone in on a particular controversial issue (in both books I've read it's been medical). The issue is usually not very common and requires her to extensively research her book. In this aspect, she succeeds.
Picoult's strength (at least in My Sister's Keeper) is making you think about a certain situation in a different way. In that book she made me go beyond my gut-reaction to think, how would I really choose or behave if I was actually put in this situation. Being able to see a complicated issue from a completely different perspective was my favorite part of that book.
I think she tried to do the same in this most recent novel, but it didn't work. Every depressing event that happened, did not in my opinion, lead to whatever she was trying to show us in the end. I came away from this book, learning nothing, feeling nothing except sadness. But not in beautiful/tragic beautiful prose way - just one hit after another.
HUGE SPOILER: I still cannot understand why Willow died in the end. Had she succeeded in her faux suicide attempt, as tragic as that was, that would have even given some validity to the hell her parents had put her through and pushed her to the brink. But to just drown out of no where? I read a review saying wondering what if Willow had survived and her mom was putting the check in her coffin many years later (having never used it, having learned from all their mistakes, etc). I think this would have made a much better ending - but I don't believe this is the case, because her mother visualizes her drowning as she is describing this section.
My favorite dialogue came from Amelia, Willow's older sister. But again, she was put to the side the whole book. Even her "cure" of bulimia was for her parents to ship her off to get help, and coming back at the end of the book fine and "healthy". Even the author pushes Amelia to the side - that was a quick fix to a problem that was just as severe as Willow's.
I can't wait to hear the opinions of my book club members. The book was a page-turner for sure, but only because you desperately wanted something good to happen to this struggling family - and it never did.