Interview with Jodi Picoult

Posted by Goodreads on March 9, 2009
Jodi Picoult admits that her notoriously controversial books shouldn't sell. After all, she hand-picks incendiary topics such as the death penalty, organ harvest, and date rape, and she routinely drops her characters into gut-wrenching moral dilemmas. Despite the heavy material, Picoult's books, including My Sister's Keeper, which is also an upcoming film starring Cameron Diaz, are perennial favorites on bestseller lists. Her newest book, Handle With Care, wades into the legal quagmire of wrongful birth lawsuits, in which parents declare under oath that they wish their disabled children had never been born. Picoult talked with Goodreads about the challenges of juggling motherhood and a full-time writing career.

Goodreads: What inspired you to write about a wrongful birth lawsuit?

Jodi Picoult: One morning in a New York hotel, I read this article in The New York Times Magazine about a woman who had sued for wrongful birth, and I had this immediate, knee-jerk reaction: "Oh my God, who would ever sue for wrongful birth? That's disgusting." I really didn't know a lot about the topic, but as I started to read this article I realized that this is such an amazing issue. It takes one of the big, knockdown, drag 'em out controversies in this country, which is abortion rights, and it takes it one step further. It is not even talking about abortion rights; it's asking, beyond that, who gets to decide what makes a valuable life? To me, that is a really interesting question, and it just seemed like the biggest, hottest mess.

We know it's contentious, because you're not allowed to sue for wrongful birth in all the states in America. The premise behind these cases is that the OB/GYNs (who have been sued in wrongful birth cases) should have told their patients, "You're going to have a disabled child." What's amazing is that in some cases the disability is a genetic malformation that has never even been diagnosed before—so there's no way they could have possibly diagnosed it—but juries tend to find in favor of the defendant just simply out of sheer heartbreak. Even more interesting is that the parents who do this all stand up in court and say, "I wish my child had never been born." That's what you have to agree to do if you're going to sue for wrongful birth. But not a single one of them really feels that way. They all say, "Yeah, yeah, I'm totally lying." They're fine with that!

Our health care system is a nightmare, our legal system is a nightmare, and we're considered to be very litigious. How did we get here? I don't know the answer to that, but I do think it's worth addressing as a problem. Issue #1 is the fact that you've got parents who desperately love their disabled children, but can't figure out how to give them all the medical attention and the quality of life that they want their children to have—because it costs too much. And issue #2, whose fault is that? Who has to pay? Should it be the OB/GYN? Should it be the health care system? Who's making all the money? Is it the insurance companies? Because the doctors aren't making money anymore. In many cases, the physicians become the fall guys in wrongful birth suits.

Then you have the added conundrum of whether or not the personal opinions of a physician enter into even their unconscious communication with patients. For example, if you assume that the patient is Catholic, would you not even bring up the option of terminating a pregnancy? You assume they wouldn't do it, which should not happen if you really are an ethical physician. At what point do you counsel termination when you know a child will be disabled? That's a really fuzzy line, because what is a valuable life to one person is not a valuable life to somebody else. What buys happiness? What would really make these parents happy? Would happiness be knowing that you won a payout? A jury gave you millions of dollars to take care of your child. Or does it really make a difference? Because at some point you probably will die before your child, and they're going to be left having to take care of themselves—even with that money. Does money really solve all the problems? I would argue that is not always the case. All of these issues and all of the moral muddiness of it really attracted me to it as a topic.

GR: How did you settle on OI?

JP: There are a lot of people who shy away from discussing disability and people with disabilities. That's the hidden side of Handle With Care. We tend, in our culture, to reduce people to their disability. That's a mistake that a lot of us make. One of the coolest things I did was spend a great deal of time with kids who have osteogenesis imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease) and their families. I saw how they live, what they have to struggle through on a daily basis, what they fear, what they hope for, and most of all, what these kids are like. They're great! They're wonderful little kids. The reason I picked this particular disability is that a kid who has OI is going to have a really hard physical existence. There's a lot of pain, surgery, and accommodations that need to be made as they grow up. But mentally, they are 100% with you. And maybe even smarter than you, because a lot of the kids who can't play on the playground are sitting at home on Wikipedia or reading a book. So they are really bright little children, and that makes it even harder to say that this child shouldn't have a life.

GR: Did you consider other disorders? Perhaps something less rare, such as autism?

JP: I narrowed in on OI for a lot of reasons, and it happened pretty quickly. In most cases, the parents who sue for wrongful birth do it because their children are severely disabled with mental retardation. Kids who tend to be at the center of wrongful birth suits are not just physically disabled, but also don't have mental development beyond that of a six-month-old or a one-year-old, no matter how old they get. I really wanted that conundrum of a mother saying, "I wish you'd never been born," and having her child be fully able to understand what she was saying. That, to me, was a much more interesting scenario. So I was looking specifically for a disability that was a physical disability that really was hard enough to make it the subject of a wrongful birth suit, but also allowed for mental normality or excellence.

It's fun for me too to highlight some kind of disability that a lot of people might have heard about, but don't really know much about. I like raising awareness, so if it does anything to make people more aware of what it's like to have osteogenesis imperfecta, that's great. Maybe the next time you do run across a kid in a wheelchair, you won't look away, maybe you'll engage them in conversation. That's hopefully a byproduct of the book.

GR: How did you go about your research with the families and medical experts?

JP: Family research involved going onsite to their homes and following these kids around during the day. A lot of what you see Willow endure during physical therapy came from their lives. Also, a lot of the reflections and fears that Charlotte has about being a capable mother came from the mouths of the moms.

In addition, I spent a lot of time with OB/GYNs—not just for Piper's character, but also to understand what it's like to be sued, how debilitating it can be to wind up with a malpractice suit on your desk. Most of the people I spoke to had, at some point in their careers, faced a malpractice suit, which is why their medical insurance is so high. To know how it affects you on a personal level. That was a really interesting lesson for me. We think of doctors as being incredibly competent all the time, but something like that can really rattle you to your core and make it hard to get back up on the horse again.

I also spent a lot of time with a pediatric radiologist to talk about what you actually could conclusively determine from X-rays and sonograms in utero for OI. The reason this was a perfect disease for this book is that there really is no hard and fast test that says, "This baby is going to be born, stillborn, or dead five minutes after birth. Or this baby will be a Type III instead of a Type II." You don't always know for sure until the baby gets here. The criteria are pretty murky, so a lot of it is open to judgment.

GR: The book touches on the question of what makes a good mother. As the mother of three children, how did your own views on motherhood influence the story?

JP: It definitely informs my books. The things I write about are often chosen because I am a mom, and I'm thinking about these issues. In the book that I'm editing right now, this woman is second guessing herself as a mom, and one of the things that comes across is that if you are second guessing yourself, you're probably a better mother than you think because you're worried about it. That's the paradox of being a mother: You never feel like you're doing a good enough job, but the fact that you're feeling that probably means you're doing a better job than you believe you are.

I am really lucky; I have three incredible kids who are all unbelievably different from each other. We have always been really open in our family; we talk about everything. They know they can come to me if they have a problem, and they do. It also trickles down from my books. We talk about the hard things because I write about the hard things. When my daughter was eight years old, we would discuss rape at the dinner table. I'm not going to shy away from that stuff; I'd rather she know about it than not know about it.

The problem I have sometimes is that I write moms who are not necessarily the same kind of parent I am. I think of Charlotte as too single-minded. I get the mama bear thing—she is willing to do anything for Willow—but I would like to believe that if I were in her shoes, I would not have so grossly abandoned Amelia. And yet, I can say that because I am not in her shoes. Until you experience that kind of situation, you really don't know how you're going to react. There's a lot of My Sister's Keeper in Handle With Care. I know there will be comparisons made, because there is a family with a sick child and the family unit unravels. Although Sara and Charlotte are really different people, they both make the mistake of focusing only on that sick child and excluding the other people around them. In some scenarios, you can look at that and say, "Wow, what a good mom. She's willing to give up her whole life for this child who is sick." But on the other hand, you can look at the same situation from a different angle and say, "This is a horrible mother." This assessment is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

GR: You yourself have dealt with having a sick child. Your middle child was diagnosed at age five with cholesteatoma, a very rare incidence of tumors in both ears.

JP: Yes, a lot more of that came out in My Sister's Keeper than in Handle With Care. It was a lot more recent when I was writing My Sister's Keeper, and to some extent, the concept of a child with cancer who has to go in and out of hospitals—a child who is sometimes perfectly normal and sometimes needs to have an operation or some kind of treatment—that was more what my life was like with my son, Jake. There were times that were absolutely great; we'd go for six months, and then all of a sudden the whole world would come crashing down. That felt a lot like what was going on in My Sister's Keeper, although nothing I experienced with my son (thanks goodness) was anywhere near as life threatening as what the Fitzgerald family experienced. Handle With Care has a slightly different scenario. You're not worried every day about Willow dying; you're worrying about how she lives. It is a slightly different spin, but it does change the way you parent and the dynamic for the family. There is no one in that family who won't say they love Willow for who she is, because she's an amazing little kid. But there's also nobody in that family who wouldn't say, "But I wish she'd been born healthy."

GR: Even though it may have changed who she was.

JP: Yes. And that's a really interesting point too. One of the women I interviewed for OI is not a child, but an incredible woman in her twenties. She is getting her Ph.D. in psychology, works with body image in disabled girls, is a Paralympian who competed in swimming for the United States, and is planning her wedding. She is the coolest woman. She has Type III OI, just like Willow, although she is totally wheel chair bound. One of the things she said to me was, "Everyone assumes that OI would be the punch line to all of the horrible things that have happened in my life." She explained that maybe that's true, but it is also the reason that all the good things happened. OI doesn't happen just to a person; it happens to the whole family, so the unity that develops around that is one of the really positive silver linings. Sometimes having a child with a disability can bring a family closer together and can lead you toward life experiences that you wouldn't have had otherwise. Is the disability negative or positive? She probably wouldn't have been an Olympic athlete, but she was a Paralympian.

GR: Did you visit the set of My Sister's Keeper? It has an all-star cast with Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack. What has the process been like?

JP: Filming is totally done. As far as I know, they are currently scoring it. It will come out in theaters on June 26. I really cannot tell you anything else, because I know nothing! I did visit the set twice, and I got to see some of the acting, which was phenomenal. I have not seen the finished product. I was made aware early on that it is not going to be exactly like the book, which is one of the reasons I was tossed off the set. [laughter] They have changed the ending. It is unfortunate, but it is certainly their prerogative. I think they are going to wind up with a great movie with really wonderful acting that follows the book extremely closely for most of the story. It differs at the end. I want those fans who are incredibly devoted to My Sister's Keeper (and I've met many of them) to still see the movie. I can't wait to see the movie! I think they'll enjoy it. If they feel that there's a discrepancy, they should just go home and pick up the book and read the last 20 pages. Hollywood very often makes changes to books, and we readers wonder, "Why on earth would they do that?" But they're not thinking of readers very often.

GR: Your first book was published in 1992. In what ways have you changed as a writer since then? Have certain challenges become easier, others harder? How do you continue to challenge yourself?

JP: The way I challenge myself is by writing something that really engages me, that doesn't have an easy answer, and isn't always an easy book to write. For me, every book is a journey—questioning a really difficult topic that most people don't want to talk about, much less write about. And that's what I need; that works for me as a writer. It makes me excited to get to my computer. I don't write the same book over and over—I think if I did that, I would stop writing. I couldn't write a series with the same character, and I couldn't write a romance novel over and over again that takes place at a different beach every year. That's not who I am. There's plenty of room for all kinds of stories and all kinds of readers. The most wonderful thing is that, if you're a reader, you'll always have something to pick up. For me, I think keeping it fresh and finding the stories that I am interested in, instead of simply writing what I think would sell well. The things I write about are not things that should sell at all, so I am really lucky. They're hard: [sarcastic tone] "Oh yeah, I'm going on vacation and taking a book about a school shooting. Yay!" That's not usually what happens. But I'm so fortunate, because I've been doing this since 1992, and at this point, I have the most devoted and loyal following. I could probably type up my grocery list and they'd all want to read it. I love that they're willing to let me go wherever I need to go as an author, and they're happy to come along for the ride as the reader. There are not a lot of writers who have either that flexibility and freedom, or that fan base. So I am incredibly, eternally grateful to all of the readers who keep coming back.

GR: What are you working on next?

JP: The book that I have currently on my desk is coming out in 2010. It doesn't have a title; I'm going back and forth between a couple right now. It is the story of Jacob, an 18-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome, who like many kids with Asperger's (which is a high-functioning autism), has a real special passion for one particular subject. His is crime scene analysis and forensics. He knows everything about it, but if you try to hold a conversation with him, he's totally clueless because social skills are where he falls apart. He can't connect socially. He has a social skills tutor who winds up being found dead, and he is accused of murder. What makes it really cool is that it's a legal story about what it means to go through the American legal system if you don't communicate a certain way. Our system of justice works really well for a lot of people, but not if you communicate in a way that the courts do not support. For example, one of the first things you might notice about someone with autism is that they won't look you in the eye, appear to not be listening, they will repeat things you say to them, but they won't always answer your questions, they may flap nervously. To a cop, that looks like guilt. To a mom of a kid with autism, it looks like her son. So that becomes the central focus of the book.

GR: So are you writing from his perspective, in the voice of a person with Asperger's?

JP: I am writing from everyone's perspective. Jacob, his mother, his brother Theo, who does not have Asperger's, their lawyer, and the detective on the case. I will say I have an absolute blast writing in the voice of this kid with Asperger's—what a great character. I spent a lot of time with kids who have Asperger's at schools for autism. They are incredible kids, absolutely fascinating. And yet, what makes it such a slippery disorder is that these are kids who look totally normal, who can in certain situations act totally normal, and then who might, because there is a fluorescent light in the store, have an utter breakdown and go completely to pieces. It is fascinating to see what sets them off, why it sets them off, and how do you combat that. Also, how you can make your client sympathetic for a jury, although all he's going to want to talk about is the death scene and what it looked like. And it looks a little macabre, unless you understand why he is functioning the way he is. I'm really enjoying it!

GR: Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

JP: I usually get up at about 5 AM. I go for a walk with a friend of mine; we do a three-mile loop and gossip the whole way. And then I come back, take a shower, get the kids off to school and come up to my computer. By about 7:30 in the morning, I'm answering fan mail. I answer every letter by myself; I don't have assistants. I've got nothing. It's just me. When I finish that, which usually takes about a half an hour to 45 minutes, I pull up whatever it is that I was working on and read through it, editing as I go, and then I'll just keep writing when I get to the end. Or if I'm doing what I'm doing today, which is editing, I'm going through it literally line by line and making changes. Then at about 3:30 PM, my kids come home from school, and I turn back into a mom, and I drive places and go to school meetings and make dinner and do all that other good stuff.

GR: So you've managed to write a book a year within the hours that your kids are at school. Do you consider yourself extremely disciplined?

JP: It has gotten a lot easier—now my kids are in school 8 hours a day. When they were little, they weren't. I have to be disciplined, because there's nobody here cracking a whip. So I have to be the one to say, "It's a work day. I may not be feeling particularly inspired, but I have to be here, and I have to find it within me to work." That's probably the biggest difference between the people who make it in this industry and the people who don't: the ones who are able to recognize that even if you love it, it's a job versus the ones who sit and wait for inspiration to strike. There is a big difference between those two mindsets. If it's a writing day, I am going to sit down and write.

GR: Who are some of your influences?

JP: The first book that I really remember inspiring me was Gone with the Wind, which I read when I was about twelve years old. I used to act out the parts of both Rhett and Scarlett, which is probably why I did not have a boyfriend until I was fifteen. I loved it because she had created an entire world made out of words. I completely bought into the fiction. I thought I could do that—never really expecting that I would do that—but that's the first book I remember really leaving an impression on me.

Another person who really changed my life is my mentor, Mary Morris, a teacher at Princeton. She's a fantastic writer, but I had not read her until I met her. She truly taught me everything I know. I wouldn't be doing this today if it weren't for her, because she really forced me to figure out what my voice was and how I could present it. I'm still friendly with her, and she's still just a fantastic person.

The writer who has probably inspired me the most as a reader has been Alice Hoffman. I love her writing. She was the first book I picked up when I left college—it was not just something I was reading for a course. Now I read all of her stuff. She makes writing seem very fluid and easy, and no matter how good you are, it is never fluid or easy. I am captivated by her magical realism, by her sense of character, and by her descriptions of love. I used to mention her whenever I was asked, "Who is your favorite author?" She must have thought I was stalking her. Finally, I got to meet her, and she's exactly what you want when you fall in love with a book. She is a really great person. You want the writer to be as great as the book, and she is. We're friends now, we exchange emails, we have breakfast together, it is almost too much! Definitely one of the perks of my writing career.

GR: What are you reading now? What are some of your favorite books and authors?

JP: My favorite book of Alice Hoffman's is Turtle Moon, but I loved The Probable Future, Second Nature. She's just a beautiful writer.

Then there are books here and there that I read and I think, "Oh, I wish I'd done that." The Life of Pi is a great example of that. That book blew me away. And The Time Traveler's Wife.

I am reading a galley right now—I read a lot of stuff before it's on the shelves, which is really frustrating to other readers. There was a book that came out a few years ago by Michelle Wildgen called You're Not You. She has a new book coming out: I think it's called A Little Light.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 71 (71 new)

message 1: by Gina (new)

Gina Jodi Picoult is my favorite author. I told my husband that I don't know what I'd do if she stopped writing. I'm so thrilled that this author continues to write about some of the most daring and compelling topics. Her work can be so controversial and surprising that I have literally reacted out loud at times when reading a Jodi Picoult novel.

Another thing that I really love and appreciate is how this author will reference some of her past works. I have truly enjoyed following Jordon McAfee's life and his cases while still getting a point of view from all of the character's in the story. It's the best of both worlds. Jodi Picoult's style of writing allows me to feel empathy for several characters in a book, thereby giving me the opportunity to become several times more invested in her novels.

I'm confident that "Handle With Care" will be a great read and I'm looking forward to Jodi Picoult's 2010 release of her next book as well.

message 2: by iva (new)

iva Jodi Picoult really is one of the best authors out there...she appeals to such a wide array of audiences. I'm 16, and I love her books more than any others. My mom is in her 50s and she likes them too...Jodi has such universal appeal. Keep on writing! =]

message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia I am very much looking forward to reading Jodi Picoult's future work about the kid with Asperger's. My nephew has AS, so it will be great for my whole family to see AS portrayed in popular culture.

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Jodi is a great author. i love to read her books. i love the bold approach to topics that hit so close to home for so many. i love to read about them and understand others better without having to go through that heartache so close. my son has Asperger's and an looking forward to this book to come. Now to read "Handle with Care." Thanks Jodi!! from a mom to a mom.

message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea When I was 17 I discovered Jodi's books and since then I have been so crazy about her books. Her perspective is like no other author I have ever read! I am looking forward to reading Handle with Care

message 6: by Rose (new)

Rose I'm a senior citizen and respect and enjoy the writing of Jodi Picoult. I say respect because she grabs hold so well of those issues in society that we often don't want to discuss. Her style is not just entertaining, it's real. I've had the priviledge of hearing her speak, which made all her books come alive after that encounter. She has become one of my favorite authors.

message 7: by Loreen (new)

Loreen Potvin I've shared Picoult books with my daughters. I never hesitate to pick up a Picoult book as I am always engaged from the first page to the last. She fuels our discussions, sometimes about topics we never knew existed, never mind talked about before - so thought provoking. I am delighted to see that she also was moved by "Life of Pi," "Time Traveler's Wife" and Alice Hoffman's work - remarkable writers as well.

message 8: by Brad (new)

Brad I am reading my first Jodi Picoult book right now -- Salem Falls -- because it was on my mother's bookshelf when she died last month. I know my Mom loved her so I thought I would take a crack and so far I am intensely engaged. Thanks for the interview. It's great to hear an author, particularly such a talented one, talk about her work.

message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann McCauley Great interview, I've read and loved all of Jodi Picoults's books. Now I can't wait to read Handle With Care!
She's an amazing author and sounds like a lovley person. I hope she keeps writing for many many years.

message 10: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Picoult is my favorite author also. I just finished Handle With Care this morning and am still amazed. I can't get over how she turns these issues into such great books.
I'm ecstatic about the 2010 book!

message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary The first Jodi Picoult book that I read was My Sister's Keeper. It was a recommendation from a friend, I was about 14 at the time, and I was a bit unsure. By the time I'd finished reading it and was done crying my eyes out, I'd decided that I was going to read as many of her novels as I could get my hands on. I'm sixteen now, and I've read at least 10 Picoult novels, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. I still haven't gotten around to Change of Heart, but it's definitely on my list, and I'm looking forward to reading Handle With Care.

message 12: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I am a huge fan! I have read all her books and love the fact that she helps me empathize with each character's point of view. I feel that I am a more informed and more accepting person after reading her books, because she challenges my thinking and points out things I may not have considered.
She had an amazing ability to drop, what I call "word bombs" in the course of her writing that are so profound, they make me physically close the book for a moment and consider what she has said. And the phrases stay with me for years afterwards. So looking forward to reading "Handle with Care"! Keep them coming, Jodi!

message 13: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Barbara wrote: "I am a huge fan! I have read all her books and love the fact that she helps me empathize with each character's point of view. I feel that I am a more informed and more accepting person after readin..."

You put this into some pretty good words there yourself! LOL I feel the same exact way!

message 14: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I guess I'm going to have to pick up one of her books. Ms. Picoult seems like a down-to-earth person who is realistic about her talents. I love that she starts off saying that her books really shouldn't be selling and ends by informing us of how hard she works. She takes this seriously. I'm also intrigued that she purposely chooses controversial subjects that most others won't touch. Any suggestions on which book to start with?

message 15: by Eva-Marie (last edited Mar 13, 2009 07:03AM) (new)

Eva-Marie Oh boy- I'd have to say , her newest one that came out this month- Handle with Care, Nineteen Minutes A novel orHarvesting the Heart IMO.
They're all good. The Tenth Circle A Novel is really good also.
I hardly ever keep any books once I read them and I always keep all of hers. These are the types of books, to me, that are rereadable, even though you already know the story. She gives so many different perspectives that you could read it numerous times and just concentrate more on a single perspective if you wanted to. I love her topics, I love what she does with the topics, and I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for 2010 now!! LOL

message 16: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Carolyn, I would suggest "My Sister's Keeper" This was the first one I read, and is still my favorite. Captivating is the word. Also "Nineteen Minutes". I love how she takes a current event or controversial subject, then uses that as the basis for weaving her story and telling all sides. Gives you great source for starting interesting conversations over dinner or at dinner parties!

message 17: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie I actually agree with Barbara- My Sister's Keeper IS one of her best in my opinion also. Definitely a great one and would probably be just as good to start with as any of the ones I mentioned. I read Nineteen Minutes first and it's always on my mind when I think about Picoult.

message 18: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Breece Erbse I discovered Jodi Picoult when I working at Barnes and Noble Cafe for the summer. The first book I read was The Pact and I was mesmerized. Jodi is able to put emotions to paper and describe the most difficult situations in life with startling reality. Since then, I read all her books and eagerly wait for her newest novel to come out every March. She is also a pleasure to see on her book tours! Handle with Care was wonderful and heartbreaking, just like the majority of Jodi's novels. I'm so happy I found this author! :-)

message 19: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Thank you Eva and Barbara. I'd been thinking about Salem Falls because of the title and link with the witch hunt and such. But, I'll read that one next. I'll take your suggestion to start with My Sister's Keeper. Can't wait!

message 20: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Salem Falls was definitely a good one too. I think that's one that is more for specific people in a way. I guess because less people read about that type of storyline than just regular fiction. But I liked them all so I'm biased! The Pact was excellant also- I forget if I mentioned that one.
The only one I'd actually go out of my way to suggest NOT reading first if her first book Songs of the Humpback Whale A Novel in Five Voices and not because it's not good- it is. It just, for me, took a bit longer to get into and was a little different from the others in some ways. I may not have fell in love with her books like I did if I had read that first.
Keep me posted! :D

message 21: by Shani (new)

Shani I'm half way through HANDLE WITH CARE and it is awesome. I was able to hear Jodi Picoult read from the book in NYC. It is always amazing to hear her read the book. Goodreads, thanks for this extended interview! Fans, you will not be disappointed in HANDLE WITH CARE!

message 22: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn ♡ Eva ♡ wrote: "Salem Falls was definitely a good one too. I think that's one that is more for specific people in a way. I guess because less people read about that type of storyline than just regular fiction. But..."

Thanks Eva. I'll definitely keep you informed!

message 23: by Rebel (new)

Rebel I've read everything she's written, though I have to say I wouldn't read her grocery list!

Unlike many on this list, my LEAST favorites were Sister's Keeper and The Tenth circle.

I didn't think I'd read Change of Heart until I went to hear her do a reading from it. If you have a chance to see her in person, GO.

I think my favorites are Plain Truth and The Pact. But it's so hard to pick a favorite...

message 24: by Bev (new)

Bev I'm a big fan, also, and heard her speak in my hometown of Baltimore last week. You know how Jodi describes meeting Alice Hoffman in this interview? How she was so pleased that Alice was the kind of person she'd hoped? Well, I feel exactly the same way about Jodi. She's kind, warm and sincere; you can just tell that she is the "real deal." She also has a great sense of humor--she made many on-the-spot quips that were quite clever. I am SO GLAD that I got to see her in person.

message 25: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Rebel wrote: "I've read everything she's written, though I have to say I wouldn't read her grocery list!

Unlike many on this list, my LEAST favorites were Sister's Keeper and The Tenth circle.

I didn't thi..."

Wow- I would LOVE to hear her read! You are so lucky! LOL I love finding out what her fav books are for someone- it's so cool how many different people like the same or different books. There are two that I haven't read yet- Wonder Woman and Falling To Earth- how were those? Were they along the same lines as the others? I'm dying to get my hands on them and have just had trouble finding them.

message 26: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Bev wrote: "I'm a big fan, also, and heard her speak in my hometown of Baltimore last week. You know how Jodi describes meeting Alice Hoffman in this interview? How she was so pleased that Alice was the kind..."
Bev- HOW did you find out she was in B-more reading?! I live in DE. and I would have definitely driven in for that. I always miss everything! :(

message 27: by Peg (new)

Peg The Interview of Jodi icoult is not a Good Read-----
it is a Great Read! Does she live anywhere near Chicago as I am a librarian with people who would enjoy her insights into controversial issues.

The only negative of leaving the film ending of "My Sister's Keeper" is that Hollywood usually does what is "politically correct" rather than an honest assessment.

Peig Reid - Irish American Heritage Center Library
4626 N. Knox, Chicago, IL 60630

message 28: by Peg (new)

Peg Please use this comment rather than the previous one submitted.

The interview ofJudi Picoult is not a Good read---it's a Great Read! Does she live anywhere near Chicago as I am a librarian situated in Chicago with patrons who would enjoy a discussion of the book "My Sister's Keeper." The only negative of Hollywood endings is that they, usually, if not always, politically correct rather than based on honest assessment.

Peig Reid, Irish American Heritage Center Library
4626 N. Knox Ave., Chicago, IL 60630

message 29: by Rebel (new)

Rebel Peg - see her website.

you missed her just TODAY in Oak Park.!(which would have been for free.)

but there's still tomorrow in Naperville, or come up to Milwaukee on Tuesday.

12:30 PM Borders, 150 N. State Street, 312-606-0750 SIGNING ONLY

7 PM Pfeiffer Hall at Campus North Central College, 310 East Benton Ave., Naperville. Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop. Ticketed event. Tickets cost book price plus $5 for the event. For info and tickets call 630-355-2665

7 PM Alverno College’s Pitman Theatre, 3401 S. 39th St., sponsored by Harry Schwartz Bookshop, 414-220-4447. This is a TICKETED EVENT. $35 includes admission as well as a copy of Handle With Care. For ticket sales call 414-382-6044 or visit

message 30: by Rebel (new)

Rebel Peg - see her website.

you missed her just TODAY in Oak Park.!(which would have been for free.)

but there's still tomorrow in Naperville, or come up to Milwaukee on Tuesday.

12:30 PM Borders, 150 N. State Street, 312-606-0750 SIGNING ONLY

7 PM Pfeiffer Hall at Campus North Central College, 310 East Benton Ave., Naperville. Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop. Ticketed event. Tickets cost book price plus $5 for the event. For info and tickets call 630-355-2665

7 PM Alverno College’s Pitman Theatre, 3401 S. 39th St., sponsored by Harry Schwartz Bookshop, 414-220-4447. This is a TICKETED EVENT. $35 includes admission as well as a copy of Handle With Care. For ticket sales call 414-382-6044 or visit

message 31: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Peg wrote: "Please use this comment rather than the previous one submitted.

The interview ofJudi Picoult is not a Good read---it's a Great Read! Does she live anywhere near Chicago as I am a librarian situa..."

Peg, you can delete any comment you leave. If you look on any of your comments, on the bottom right hand corner there will be a link to click to delete. You'll only see it and an edit link on your comments because you can't delete anyone else's. :)

message 32: by Bev (last edited Mar 15, 2009 07:11PM) (new)

Bev Funny you should ask, Eva. I saw that Jodi was coming to Baltimore on her website but never saw it advertised anywhere in town. I went expecting a huge crowd, but the auditorium was only 1/3 full! The Barnes & Noble at the Power Plant in downtown Baltimore sponsored the event, and I heard someone behind me say that they never even put up a sign until the week before. I felt bad that the attendance was so low, so I emailed Jodi to tell her that I had never seen any publicity, and I hoped she wouldn't stay away from Baltimore because of it. She immediately emailed me back to thank me for the feedback--she said it was clear that the event was poorly managed, and she would come back to Balto but use definitely use a different sponsor. What a shame! I wish you had been there.

message 33: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Ever since I saw your post about her being there I've actually been slightly depressed. LOL I've already vented to three different friends of mine about missing it. I am so mad right now that I didn't hear about it. I go to so many book related sites it's nuts- even the publishers and authors OWN sites (I somehow managed to miss Picoults site recently) and should have known.
I love her enough to drive anywhere between about NY and DC. I'm in Delaware. Ugh....I get emails all the time from about any visits in the surrounding states yet hers was never sent. I only get the ones I don't care about.
You are so lucky!
Where did you email her? On her website?

message 34: by Bev (last edited Mar 15, 2009 09:19PM) (new)

Bev ♡ Eva ♡ wrote: "Ever since I saw your post about her being there I've actually been slightly depressed. LOL I've already vented to three different friends of mine about missing it. I am so mad right now that I did..."

Eva, my heart is breaking for you. I now know that I was lucky to have caught the announcement. Here's the good thing, though. If you go to her site and click on the little mailbox at the bottom of the page, you can send her a message, and she ANSWERS EVERY ONE! I found this out when, after reading my favorite of her books, Keeping Faith, I felt compelled to write and tell her the things I loved about it. I was totally shocked when I got a personal reponse the next day. Please write to tell her how disappointed you are about the lack of publicity, and encourage her to come to the area again next time. If she finds out how many people were sad to miss her, it might give her even more reason to come back. She has another book coming out in 2010, so let's keep our fingers crossed!

message 35: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie I am so excited about the next book- I keep thinking about it! I'm such a nerd! LOL She has a message on her website to the people who live in cities and towns her tour didn't stop at and she tells them the best way to get her there. Something about going to the bookstores, preferably independants, and having them contact her reps and keeping on them. I don't even care if she comes to little old DE. because I'll happily drive to Baltimore, Philly, OR New York! LOL
I'm so glad you sent that friend request- I love finding someone to talk to about her and her books and you're the closest to me in that way. I have friends that like her but not like I can tell you do!!

message 36: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Oh- I almost forgot. Thanks for the info about emailing her...I'll be doing that today! :D

message 37: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I have read all of Jodi Picoult's books and love thier uniqueness and controversial topics. I just finished Handle with Care and enjoyed it. I enjoy reading about people with Asperger's especially as a special education teacher and I am glad to read her next book will focus on this topic. She is awesome!

message 38: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie I asked this question before to Rebel but I guess they aren't following the conversation so I'll ask everyone who sees this- has anyone read Wonder Woman and/or Falling To Earth? I can't seem to find the books themselves or even a description anywhere. I'm wondering if they are along the same lines as the others. I haven't even come across anyone who has read them already!
I'm dying to get my hands on them.

message 39: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I haven't heard of either of those books, so I am not of much help I am afraid. Have you tried Amazon or E Libris?

message 40: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie I've looked on amazon but not the other place, never heard of that one. Thanks..I will look. I forget where I saw those titles first at but I've since seen them a few places, review sites and such, just not anywhere I can buy them! LOL
They don't seem to be anywhere near as heavily read as any of the others. That's why I'm trying to find out more about them! If I do find anything out I'll let you know too!

message 41: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Eva - Wonder Woman is referring to the 5 issues of the Wonder Woman series she did for DC Comics in 2007, something that I think came about because of the Tenth Circle and the Dad's profession as a comic book writer/creator. The story is interspersed with a comic book plotline and the related graphics. This would be very interesting to check into, definitly something different from what Jodi usually does.
Also, from a comment from Jp herself, the Falling Angels book is a fake. Apparently someone has stolen an unpublished manuscript and tried to reprint and sell it. This is NOT a Jodi Picoult book and was never published, nor will ever be for sell legally. Just FYI.I am one of her most vocal and loyal fans, and I think everything she writes is pure genius! I am still on hold at the Library for her latest, Handle With Care, and cannot hold out much longer before I will break under pressure and spend some of my bill money on my own copy, Arghhhhhh!!!!

message 42: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie WOW Dawn! THANK YOU! I had NO IDEA about Falling To Earth. How DARE someone steal the manuscript. Who knows what she might have done with that book?! UGH.....
I don't buy many books at all because I belong to two on-line swapping sites and usually get everything I read from those. It works great because I only keep what I KNOW *for sure* I'll read again but I saw Handle With Care at Costco last week and I couldn't help it! LOL It's GREAT.
I've loved or at least really, really liked all of her books and this is one of my favs definitely. I already know by what you said about you liking her you won't be disappointed! It's pretty awesome.
I'm still in shock here. I can't believe someone stole that and that some sites still have it up as a book of hers. I know I've seen it a few places because that's how I found out about it.
Thanks for the description of Wonder Woman. I would usually shy away from something having to do with comics but with her being the author I can't. I'll at least give it a try. The Tenth Circle scared me at first when I saw the comics because I thought it'd be lame or something and it most certainly was not. I loved it.
Hopefully you'll get Handle soon...I do still use my library once in awhile so I know how it is to wait for something there!
Thanks you so much for all the info!

message 43: by Dawn (last edited Mar 17, 2009 07:33AM) (new)

Dawn You are most welcome! I just realized that I wrote -Falling Angels- it was Falling to Earth. Typing too fast....and listening for my boss, LOL! I just have to get my GR fix sometimes and couldn't help logging on at work this morning with the Jodi Picoult interview calling my name.
I felt the same way about Tenth Circle and like you ended up loving it too! Has anyone seen the movie that was just released on DVD recently based on this book? I really want to see it, just have not had a kid free night in a while to indulge this wish. (Sigh)- at least I can still read JP books while she watches Higglytown Heroes for the 100th time!

message 44: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie What's even more funny is that I didn't notice you typed the title wrong! I think I just saw the word 'Falling' and kept reading! LOL
You're telling me so much I didn't know here- I had no idea that movie was released on DVD! I did catch part of it when it was on t.v. but now I'm going to order the DVD! Have they turned any others into movies? I did hear that they're in the process of making one now- maybe The Pact? Oh my, I'd love to see each one turned into a movie! I'd have a library and DVD collection of Jodi Picoult's! LOL

message 45: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I saw Tenth Circle on TV this weekend..we sort of saw it as I was helping my son get settled in his new house, so didn't just WATCH it. But what I saw looked pretty good.

message 46: by Rebel (new)

Rebel Eva - I'm back, but Dawn already said everything I was going to!

message 47: by Eva-Marie (last edited Mar 17, 2009 11:01AM) (new)

Eva-Marie Barbara wrote: "I saw Tenth Circle on TV this weekend..we sort of saw it as I was helping my son get settled in his new house, so didn't just WATCH it. But what I saw looked pretty good."
Aaaahhhhh!!! Why am I missing everything that has to do with Picoult?!!! I have her listed on and everything and they never let me know about the tour. I guess I know why I didn't know about the movie- I haven't watched anything besides a cartoon in almost 4 years now. LOL

message 48: by Eva-Marie (new)

Eva-Marie Rebel wrote: "Eva - I'm back, but Dawn already said everything I was going to!"

So far, you two are the only ones I've met that new those things! I'm so glad I found out. I would have been so upset had I found Falling To Earth and then seen that.
Falling to Earth- look at this. Is there somewhere I can verify that this isn't her book? Is it on her website? Then I can ask to have it removed. I could remove it myself but I'd ask first just in case, I haven't been a librarian that long!

message 49: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Oooooooohh! I'm sorry, Rebel! It's really hard being a know-it-all!(haha) My husband is sure I collect facts just so I know the answers to all my friends questions. This could be true. I like being helpful and I must say Google is my secret weapon in the pursuit of knowing it all! I would love to be a reserch assistant for a great author. Hummmmm.... wonder if Jodi Picoult is in need, even though she says she does it all herself, once she had me to help her she could write so much faster -plus I am pretty sure I would get to read her manuscripts much sooner, LOL!

message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Hi Dawn, that's exactly what it is - a stolen manuscript. It was part of a contract that was dissolved by Putnam and myself, and I assume someone at Putnam is the one who posted the manuscript somewhere. It would be great if you removed the reference to it, since it will not be published!

Jodi Picoult

This was the response I just received straight from Jodi P. that explains the "Falling to Earth" manuscript issue.
OMG, I can't tell you how excited I am that she responded -to me!!!!! Jodi Picoult knows my name. Somebody catch me I'm going to swoon.... OK, I'm gathering my dignity....ahhhhhhh!

Back to technicalities, how do we remove it? Eva, are you able to do this? You mentioned having the librarian status. This is so misleading to other members, as well as unfair to JP.
(Sigh) Still not over having Jodi Picoult in my inbox....

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