Saturday, July 11, 2009

Handle with care

Jodi Picoult's latest book deals with ethical and social issues revolving around the birth of a child born with with a disability. Willow has OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) - brittle bones. At birth a number of her bones were broken and broken bones were a constant part of her life placing a strain on family members emotionally as well as financially.

When Willow was five Charlotte (Willow's mother) started legal proceedings against Piper Reece (her obstetrician) for not recognising the early symptoms of OI and therefore preventing Charlotte having the choice to terminate the pregnancy. The repercussions of Charlotte's actions are told by those most affected - Charlotte, Sean (her husband), Amelia (Willow's sister), Piper who had been Charlotte's best friend, Marin (Charlotte's lawyer). Each character addresses Willow when recounting what is occurring. The last episode belongs to Willow.

Disintegration of relationships, living with community reaction, trying to do something for the best reasons (in this case creating a secure future for her daughter), blame, guilt, ethics of abortion, strain of disability on family members including concentration on the needs of one family member to the detriment of siblings are some of the issues covered in this novel.

Other novels by Jodi Picoult with medical ethics themes include Change of Heart (a convicted murderer wants his heart donated to the sister of the child who was killed) and My Sister's Keeper (a family has another child in order to save the life of a child).

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