Friday, June 12, 2009

More Than It Hurts You by Darin Strauss~★★★

Author: Darin Strauss
Title: More Than It Hurts You
Release Date: June 19th, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Josh Goldin was savoring a Friday afternoon break in the coffee room, harmlessly flirting with co-workers while anticipating the weekend at home where his wife, Dori, waited with their eight-month-old son, Zack. And then Josh's secretary rushed in, using words like 'intensive care, lost consciousness, blood...'
That morning, Dori had walked into the emergency room with her son in severe distress. Enter Dr. Darlene Stokes, an African American physician and single mother whose life is dedicated both to her own son and navigating the tricky maze of modern-day medicine. But something about Dori stirred the doctor's suspicions. Darlene had heard of the sensational diagnosis of Munchausen by proxy, where a mother intentionally harms her baby, but she had never come upon a case of it before. It's rarely diagnosed and extraordinarly controversial. Could it possibly have happened?
When these lives intersect with dramatic consequences, Darlene, Dori, and Josh are pushed to their breaking points as they confront the nightmare that has become their new reality. Darin Strauss's extraordinary novel is set in a world turned upside down---where doctors try to save babies from their parents, police use the law to tear a family apart, and the people you know the best end up surprising you the most."

Taryn's Review: Seeing as I have no knowledge of phlebotomy, pediatrics, or child protection services' can and cannots, I don't know how accurate the book was in the portrayal of those aspects. I did question a few things though. At the trial of Josh and Dori, CPS is never brought in. I would think that some sort of child protection agency would be involved in a case where custody of a child might be taken. But again, I'm clueless as to how this all works. Lots of questions there, but my ignorance will just have to accept the book at face value.

As far as the writing goes, the book started out slowly. And I mean, slowly. Thankfully, I finally got into the writing. The author had a particular style of writing that is new to me and it was hard for me to adjust to.

The author did his best writing when he wrote from the perspective of Josh Goldin, one of the main characters. I felt most in touch with Josh and really became transfixed with Josh's suspicions and then his guilt for feeling those thoughts. Strauss did a good job of putting Josh's feelings to pen and making it so the reader could really connect with Josh and understand his confusion and anger throughout the book.

The rest of the characters were not as strongly written. Dr. Darlene Stokes was focused on quite a bit, but it almost felt like too much focus on her. Darlene's background was intricately explained in the book, although the reader may ask why this was even included; it really didn't do anything to sway me one way or the other. There were some areas of the book that could have most definitely been left out and were boring to read. This reader didn't care about the fictitious numbers of Josh's workplace, or honestly, Darlene's dad. Dori's perspective was bland because her view didn't offer anything new for the reader nor did it make things more complicated. She was just there, living.

And I can't not mention the race factor Strauss repeatedly brought up in the book. I don't know what he was trying to do with that angle. I don't understand why it was even a part of the book. It just left me scratching my head.

The book could have been great. Strauss would have been best suited to narrow down the focus to Josh and perhaps Dr. Stokes. It's just too much rambling, too much unnecessary extras, and maybe too many themes crammed into one book. I don't doubt that Mr. Strauss is a talented writer, but the ideas for this book just didn't meld together as well as one would hope.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your review on this one, except I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads. It had so much potential but there was just so much extra stuff thrown in ie race, the Dr's Dad, etc that I felt distracted and disconnected from the actual story. And I was disappointed with the ending, after all the build-up I wanted more of the fallout.