Monday, July 5, 2010

more than it hurts you by Darin Strauss

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 Munchhausen 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 extraordinarily 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

Emotions are churning within me of which I cannot even begin to describe. The characters- all so well drawn, so lifelike, each with a heaviness all their own...

Dori- the mother accused of Munchhausen by proxy syndrome- of hurting her baby for the attention it will create. Dori is galled that anyone would think she could hurt little Zackie. After all, no one could love him more than she does. And she does love him immensely. She is burdened by the investigation by Child Protective Services and the need to prove she is a good mother.

Josh- the sometimes inattentive, but still loving husband and father is saddled with feelings of not being competent enough. Of not knowing enough "medical speak" to understand what's going on. Josh blindly trusts in his wife and creates a united front against their accusers.

Dr. Darlene Stokes- a black doctor who worked her way up from a fatherless home to become a respected doctor and head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of St Josephs hospital is targeted for reverse racism against this young Jewish family and is weighed down with the battle between hospital politics and the diagnosis she made without any proof but which she is sure is correct.

More than it hurts you is a thought provoking novel of right and wrong, good and bad, fair and unfair, conceptions and misconceptions. A novel that leaves you thinking about it long after you've put it down. 4/5 stars

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