Monday, July 11, 2011


By Carol Cassella

From the back of the book:

Claire Boehning’s medical career is just about to blossom when her brilliant husband, Addison, makes a breakthrough medical discovery. His biotech start-up strikes gold, and their family is catapulted into a life of luxury. Claire eventually drifts from medicine and decides to leave her promising career behind to be a stay-at-home mother. However, a risky gamble on a new career drug soon sends the couple into irreparable debt, and now they must move their family to a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Hallum, Washington. Claire must go back to work, but her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic.

Just my opinion:

I was quite taken by this story. First off, because I live in central Washington, I recognized the area the author talks about as the setting for this book. I also appreciated the struggle the main character had to go through when she had to go back to work after living the dream life with her husband and young daughter. She suddenly finds herself having to support her family, but years of being off the payroll means it’s very difficult to find suitable employment. I also dealt with this when my children were young. Their father and I went our separate ways and I had three children to support. I finally had to return to school and earned my bachelor’s degree. However, it still took a year and a half to find a job because employers want to see what recent experience you have under your belt. Fortunately, I had worked on the college paper, so I was able to find a job at a local newspaper and, well, the rest is history!

I really liked Claire. She seemed to have so much going for her and wanted nothing more than to keep her family together. I also liked the doctor at the public clinic she finally found a job at.

On the other hand, her daughter came across as quite spoiled and there were times when I wondered why Claire put up with it. And her husband seemed to care a little too much about recovering his assets than helping Claire piece back together the family. He would show up, then leave again in pursuit of financial backing for his cancer-curing drug – typically leaving whenever Claire attempted to discuss their problems.

It’s a great story and I enjoyed the medical discussions in the book. The author wrote in layman’s terms so anyone can understand the issues involved.

Some favorite passages from the book:

The body is a miracle, the way it heals. A factory of survival and self-repair. As soon as flesh is cut, cells spontaneously begin to divide and knit themselves into a protective scar. A million new organic bonds bridge the broken space, with no judgment passed on the method of injury.
The fire is stone dead by the time they get home, no smoke at all from the chimney and the living room windows forbiddingly black.
  • And a mother always, always keeps her promises. So the mark has been set, the cards laid out. It cheers her up, in a way, as if such a promise had the power of all round-bellied maternal goddesses behind it. How many blind leaps into optimism mothers offer their children. And maybe that was part of the reason things usually did work out all right. Maybe the endgame attributed to fate could be bent by the collective will of mothers – there was a thought to play with, though it made it hard to figure out how anybody could possibly wage a war under that cosmic plan.
  • That’s the thing about a marriage – even a good marriage. It’s so easy to spread your own blame around, pin half your own bad choices onto somebody else.
  • The fields are still dormant under thinning snow. But there is movement now, a rousing of the earth almost invisible in the still gray and white landscape. Flocks of phoebe and towhee and dove pushing the cold ahead of them. The river teasing back what it had relinquished, pushing, scouring through ice.
  • The new snow is already melting away, the pale, smoky green tops of the sagebrush show where even the deepest drifts had covered them a few weeks ago. Swaths of brown grass lie flattened against the earth in the wake of retreating winter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh I read Oxygen by this author and loved it - I would really like to read this one as well