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So Much For That

Book: So Much For That

Author: Lionel Shriver

Short Summary:
Shep Knacker was ready to leave it all behind; the company he sold years ago yet still works for, the worries and annoyances of everyday life, and even his wife Glynis, if she chose not to follow him to the remote island of Pemba. Shep had been saving for his getaway he affectionately called “The Afterlife” for years. However, everything changed when Glynis announced that she had an aggressive form of cancer. The book follows the marriage of Shep and Glynis as she “battles” cancer and he pays for it literally and figuratively yet never leaves her side. It also takes us into the lives of the Knackers’ closest friends, Jackson and Carol, who have health problems of their own to deal with. This book takes a deep look not only into these characters’ lives, but how the American health care system has played a major part in them.

My Thoughts:
While I thought this book was good, it just didn’t do it for me the way the other Shriver books I’ve read have. I can’t actually pin point what was lacking in this book either. I don’t think it was the characters. Shriver has a way of writing characters that just pop off the page and come to life. Each character had qualities that were highly irritating, yet I found myself feeling sympathy and some kind of connection with each one of them.

It might have been the story itself. Being about sickness, this book obviously didn’t have a very happy theme, although there was still some humor weaved in. At times there were a few too many statistics and information about the health care system thrown in via one of Jackson’s crazy rants. For the most part this was done well, but once in a while it felt a little bit unrealistic.

The health care system in the US is obviously a big concern for everyone who lives here and has been in the news non stop. I, for one, am anxious to see what changes the new bill will truly bring about, and I’m hoping it’s some positive ones. This book definitely showed the hardships of being sick in this country and how much it can cost, again both literally and figuratively. The one question asked on the flap of this book was “How much is one life worth?” This book does take the time to help the reader evaluate this question.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but didn’t love it. It was very well written and the topic was very relevant if you are living in the US. If you aren’t, I can see how you may become uninterested, as some other bloggers not living here have mentioned. If you are new to Shriver’s work, I would recommend The Post-Birthday World and We Need To Talk About Kevin before I would recommend this one.

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars


4 Responses

  1. What I’ve discovered about Shriver is that even though I find her to be a consistently good character writer–and her language is always beautiful to me–not all of her stories appeal to me. This is one that doesn’t, so I probably won’t hunt it down. But, yes, The Post-Birthday World will always be one of my favorite books.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I think you enjoyed this book a bit more than me – perhaps because you live in the US? I thought it felt like one long rant against the US healthcare system and didn’t enjoy the plot at all. We Need to Talk About Kevin remains the only one of her books I love so far.

  3. It sounds like I might pass this one by. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. I’ve yet to read any Lioner Shriver books, but I’ve been meaning to. I’ll make sure I start with one of the ones you mentioned.

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