Why Jodi Picoult Deserves Praise From The Special Needs Community.

9 Feb

One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult. I’ve read all of her novels, and I saw her speak in March of 2010 regarding the release of House Rules (and it was by far one of the best nights of my life so far). However, I love Jodi Picoult for more reasons than she’s a great author (I quote her books more than any other author), every one of her books has taught me something, and the fact that she addresses touchy subjects. I also love her because she responds to emails from her fans. She’s said in numerous interviews that she’s the one responding, rather than one of her assistants.

In Jodi’s 2009 novel, Handle With Care, the main character, Willow O’Keefe, has OI, or osteogenesis imperfecta (a genetic disorder characterized by brittle bones that break easily). Even though Jodi discussed a disability that is very different from Cerebral Palsy, I still felt like I was able to relate to much of what Jodi discussed in Handle With Care about what it means to be different and what it’s like to feel so much physical pain on a daily basis. It was a special moment when I realized that my all-time favorite author was writing about certain feelings that I have experienced on a daily basis: the desire to find a place I belong in a society that’s not fully accepting to those who are “different.”

In March of 2009, I wrote the following email to Jodi:

Dear Jodi,

I just recently read the synopsis of your new book, Handle With Care,
and I am very excited to begin it! However, as I was reading your
conversation about Handle with Care that is featured our your website,
something caught my eye. Even though I don’t have OI, I have another
disability, Cerebral Palsy, which has affected my life since I was
young. Personally, I just want to let you know how deeply you touch my
heart with each of your books. You do a wonderful job of portraying
how it truly is for those of us who are different. I can sympathize with the kids you
interviewed that have OI. Even though it may be extremely
rough for them, they are just like any normal kid, and nothing warms
their heart more than when they are actually treated like one.
I am extremely thankful if you actually took the time to read this.
You and your books have made a significant impact on my life. I hope
to one day meet you and let you know face to face how much you have
truly helped me.
Thanks again,

This was her response:

Amelia, kids like you are MY heroes.  I hope you like the book and hope it rings true!
Jodi Picoult

So far, Jodi has discussed disabilities such as OI and Asperger’s (House Rules), and I applaud her for interviewing kids who are faced with the disabilities she has covered because those of us who have lived through the experiences our disability presents are the only people who know what it’s really like. Therefore, Jodi Picoult deserves a crazy about of praise and support from the special needs community for giving a voice to the issues that may have not had much prior awareness or increasing the level of awareness to a more diverse population. Though I still silently hope that one day Jodi will write a novel that has a character with Cerebral Palsy in it, I already have gained so much from the fact that she has written about many of the emotions I feel on a daily basis in regards to my disability.

3 Responses to “Why Jodi Picoult Deserves Praise From The Special Needs Community.”

  1. LA Edwards February 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Congrats! I love it when famous people actually listen, read, and respond to their fans, especially those like yourself who have become such an important advocate for those with disabilities, particularly CP. Well done my friend. I commend you for your hard work. And kudos to Jodi Picoult for taking the time to listen to you, not merely a fan but someone who lwho is fighting for those with CP, serving as an important advocate to those with CP and other disabilities. Well done Amelia, you are becoming recognized.

  2. Wilhelmina Upton February 10, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I like it when famous authors take the time to respond to their fans. What is even better though is when one of them tackles a subject that may not be in the public’s eye so much, like disabilities for example. They can make a huge difference to how people not affected by it are seen and understood which is so, so important.

    I was already granted my wish and found I was represented very well as a gay gal in one of her novels (not saying that it’s the same as having a disability but she still handled it amazingly). Hope you will get yours as well sometime soon. Or, you’ll be the one telling that story to the world!


  1. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult « Rafferty's Rules - February 16, 2013

    […] Why Jodi Picoult Deserves Praise From The Special Needs Community. (lifeintheblueridges.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: