Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Point of View

A friend gave me a hand me down copy of Against Medical Advice by Hal Friedman and James Patterson and told me I would enjoy it because it was readable, and it would remind me of some similar struggles I have had with doctors while trying to understand and treat my son's epilepsy.  I avoided the book for weeks because, as many readers know, I often judge books by their covers and this one smacked of the "disease of the month club" genre.

Finally, I needed some light easy to read plane fare, and I decided to swallow my fear of the genre and picked it up.   It was compelling because the whole story, save the prologue and epilogue, were written from the point of view of the boy who was experiencing the illness.  The reader goes inside Cory Friedman's head to begin to understand what is going on as he struggles to understand his own complex case of Tourette's Syndrome and OCD.

It is a very quick read and Cory makes for an interesting narrator and tour guide through his hellish childhood.  I could relate to the feeling of hopelessness that parents feel when all doctors seem to offer is drugs, and I shed a tear or two when he finally seemed to overcome this horror that had beset him for his whole life.  Tourette's really stole his childhood.

The only complaint I had was that the POV perhaps got a bit too sympathetic toward Cory, and I really wanted to hear from the mom and dad or the teachers in his school or the doctor who treated him.  Toward the end the POV started to work against Cory.  He seemed whiny and entitled and even though I knew he had been through a lot, I suddenly stopped feeling sorry for him.  Then again, this was supposed to be a disease of the month club book and not necessarily great literature. 

Anyway, I am interested if hearing reader's comments on point of view.  What works and what doesn't work?  Who is your favorite trustworthy narrator?  For an excellent novel that is all about POV check out this favorite of mine and let me know if you would like to borrow Against Medical Advice.

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