Friday

Book Review: Handle With Care

Handle with Care: A Novel
I'll be honest: my first reaction is to give this book a thumbs down. But as I examine what makes me think that, it's how I feel. This book got under my skin. It is VERY well written, which is part of the blessing/ curse. I would NOT have liked some of the characters in person -- and I don't think that was what the author intended.

Let me back up. This is a story about a family with a daughter with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, OI, or as you probably know it, Brittle Bone Disease. The deal is that we have a friend with brittle bone disease. Here's Matt with Ashley and another friend.
This picture was actually taken when Ashley did her research project on OI and ask Matt quite a bit about his disease. We are also relatively good friends with the parents and have been in some close situations with them. While they have had their moments of doubt and struggle, I'm sure, they have done an AMAZING job -- not only of raising a special needs child, but of expecting the best out of him and his sister.

It's the sister I'm the most fascinated with. She is lovely. Probably 3 or 4 years older than Matt, she has her own set of interests and skills that she excels at, and her parents have exhausted themselves to see to it that she is able to participate in those things when she is able. She also supports her brother in what he does, and he is frequently doing something wonderful and smart and academic. They have created a family, when I'm sure the temptation would have been to create a system surrounding one child.

I don't think any of us with two able-bodied children can ever fully appreciate what it takes to create some semblance of normalcy with a special needs child. But Matt's family does what they can, all that they safely can while keeping Matt safe, and same for sister.

What does this have to do with the book? The family bugged me -- because they didn't pull it off nearly as well as Matt's family does. Not that I could! The family also came across some tough decisions and didn't choose the way I would have... or did they? That's what I mean that they got under my skin. They made me think. They made me choose sides. They made me formulate a plan. Which is the best kind of book.

So, the book was well written. And uncomfortable to read. And chafing. I think you may like to think on it a while...

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