Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult ****

Voyage or Destination? Quest or Reward? Learning or Report Card? Life or Funeral? Good advice says Live Today Today - A life well lived is its own reward. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult makes me believe the rules should be different for lives lived in fiction.

Real people are subject to unknowable forces: tragic (even fatal) accidents, chance meetings, and extraordinary luck. On a drive to the store, the brakes can fail, leading to death, crashing into a future spouse, or a rich insurance settlement. In real life, one never knows.

But a novel is different. The author is God. So when a novel ends in an arbitrary way, we readers feel disappointed. We even have a technical term for this: deus ex machina - God from a machine. We don't like it.

Thus, Handle with Care has wonderful characters who live through with the challenges of osteogenesis imperfecta - brittle bone disease. Along the journey they examine the issues of medical malpractice and abortion. The journey is thought provoking and enlightening. However, the ending is arbitrary and nihilistic, and, for me, this spoils the journey.

1 comment:

Italia said...

This is the very first book that I've read from Picoult and I'll have to say that I truly enjoyed it. The entire time I was reading it I felt like I was watching a "Lifetime" movie playing out in my head and I love "Lifetime" movies. There were several times that I cried while reading it because there were parts that were so heart wrenching but there were also times that I laughed out loud. There are books that you can read that you're like "oh, that was good" and then there are the books that you say "wow, that was really good" and this was that kind of book for me. I'll be thinking about this story for quite some time because it has left quite an impression on me.