Review: Healer

Why I picked it: Manic Mommies Book Club Selection

Synopsis:  Claire Boehning faces a bleak future when her privileged life ends abruptly in Cassella's second novel (after Oxygen). Addison, her biochemist husband, created a lucrative drug that secured the family's fortunes, but when tests on a new drug go awry and Addison's backing disappears, he loses everything. After the couple is forced to move from Seattle with daughter Jory, 14, to live in a rural, ramshackle house originally bought as a fixer-upper project when money was not an issue, Addison travels in search of new investors. Claire, meanwhile, searches for a position as a doctor, a profession she left after Jory's birth. But with her lack of experience and board certification, she finds few opportunities until she lands a job at a nonprofit clinic that serves poor, uninsured migrant workers. There Claire meets Miguela Ruiz, a Nicaraguan native with a mysterious background, and as the Boehnings struggle to reclaim some piece of their past life, Ruiz affects them in unexpected ways. Cassella (a real-life doctor) takes a hard look at a faulty health-care system to illustrate the power of money and class in this timely and multifaceted novel.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Recommend - Sometimes books reveal a life changing event in chapter one and the rest of the book is spent overcoming said event, Healer is not one of these books. 

We discover Claire's story slowly as we read, but we feel the weight of financial distress on her family on every page.  The family is forced to move to a remote town, having lost their family home after Claire finds out that her husband has gambled more than his business (losing everything). Like so many women she chose to stay home to raise her child and never imaged that she would have to find work one day, especially under these conditions but she is strong and finds work in a low income clinic.  At the center of these sub-plots is the story of drug testing, on immigrants and what happens if side affects turn deadly.

We had a wonderful discussion with the author.    As always... I enjoy a book so much more after discussing it with friends and the author!  Carol Cassella is working on a third novel, this time from a patients point of view.  Our book club discussion is available on iTunes, search Manic Mommies Book Club.

Source: Review Copy