Don't get me wrong, I knew, in part at least, what I was getting myself into with this. Jodi Picoult likes to rip out your heart, score it with a cheese grater and sprinkle lemon juice on top. As if that weren't enough, as you are licking your wounds she sucker punches you, every time, leaving you gasping for air like a trout on a stringer.
Note: If you have seen My Sister's Keeper and think you have a clue as to what it means to read one of her stories, you are sadly mistaken. I never bothered to see it, due to my love for the story and my unwillingness to taint my memory of it and the lackluster (at best) reviews it received; however if you did see it please do your best to forget it and read the book.
As for Handle With Care, I was crying on the first page. Weeping silently on the couch as my buddy watched basketball. My mother took weeks to read it because she would get so emotionally overwrought that she had to step away. I took a slightly different approach. I would pour into this book hoping against hope to desensitize myself to the pain coating each page. It didn't work. Not even close.
When something particularly gut wrenching would happen I would invariably make a noise of some sort. A groan or gasp or whimper that would alert my buddy to the impending recitation that he in no way welcomed. It began page one (as did the tears if you'll recall) and he told me not to tell him one more word from or about the book. It was that heavy. Needless to say I couldn't stop. The final words from the book and that I subjected him to prompted him to tell me that I was never allowed, under any circumstances, to read another word by Jodi Picoult to him ever again.
This book is amazing.
Things break all the time. Glass, and dishes, and fingernails. Cars, and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever.
For the last two months of my pregnancy, I made lists of these things, in the hopes that it could make your birth easier.