The Joy (and Pain) of Reading Jodi Picoult

I am FINALLY that mom. The one who can take her kids to the pool- while I read. It may be a small victory, but I have awaited this day for 9 years. (See, it will happen, believe me!)

A few years ago, my friend and fellow book-clubber Christy told me I had to read Jodi Picoult's book "Nineteen Minutes". I knew nothing about this author nor her work, but checked it out of the library anyway.
At home, I read the blurb. It was about a high school shooting that left several kids injured and dead. The shooting took 19 minutes from start to finish, and my, how many lives were devastated within that short time.
Ugh.
It sat on my dresser for three weeks. 
Time to either renew or return it. I renewed it, and forced myself to start reading.
Ho-Ly Cr-ap!
It was amazing. I was riveted. While it was hard to read, it was so wonderfully written, you could read it. What I love about her writing is she's not afraid to take on an emotional topic. She'll completely explore it, dissect it, then present various points of view you'd never consider. 
This book showed the sheriff's point of view- how he had to enter that school, the kids he rescued, and how he was able to pinpoint the shooter. Then after, his coping with not only being a hero (unwillingly), but also the post-traumatic stress of it all.
We see from the eyes of mother of the shooter. Her son had been bullied at school, but nothing much was done about it and, ultimately- he snapped. The town (and her friends) now blame her for her son's actions: How could she NOT see the signs? The judgement of her maternal skills from people who have known her son since birth was overwhelming. She struggles with finding what she clues missed, yet also deeply mourns along with the town- only she's now alone.
I was SO glad I finally picked up that book, and soon looked for more. 
My favorites are "House Rules" and "Handle With Care"- which I am almost done with. These two deal with children who have disabilities. The first is about a son who has Aspergers, and in the second, their child has OI- Osteogenesis Imperfecta- or brittle bone disease (Like Mr. Glass in "Unbreakable").
I have read quite a bit about Aspergers, and have some first hand experience with a child who is on the spectrum, but wow. Reading this, I can honestly say, you get an insight into how someone with Aspergers sees the world. How noises can overstimulate. How they can need a place to go to calm down. We hear a lot about 'the spectrum', but do we really understand it? Know what it means? This book shined a light on what it was like to have Aspergers, and also how family members cope. Like the brother, who would have to leave events frequently because his brother was breaking down, and how unfair it all was for him too.
This little girl with OI is so incredible. You fall in love with her and it hurts you every time she suffers a break. You agonize with her parents, and wonder at the choices they make, and mourn for the forgotten, healthy daughter. But now I know what this disease is. Sometimes it's just understanding what's going on that can take the fear out of things. Raising awareness is half the battle, and damn, she does just that.
My Sister's Keeper" which they made into a move (I didn't see it). The older sister has leukemia and the parents have another baby in order to 'make' a bone marrow donor for their sick daughter. 

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