Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just finished Sometimes Mine, Martha Moody's latest. I only recently have become a huge fan of this author... I think the medical perspective she brings to her books (she's a doctor) is original and truly sets these apart from other books that deal with medecine and disease a la Jodi Picoult (ps, not a fan of Picoult... liked The Pact but after I read My Sister's Keeper my senior year of high school I haven't gone back to her since... entirely too depressing).

I was tres excited that this new offering from Moody was released so soon after I read her last two books this spring. I went to the BN in Union Square on the day it was released (I had set an alarm in my phone calendar) and went I didn't see it amongst the new releases, went to customer service who was able to track down the book for me. I willed them not to judge me... they had clearly not heard of this book or this author. Their loss.

(I want to first mention that this is an example of when it is NOT a good idea to judge a book by its cover. Because frankly, this cover sucks. It's blurry, the fonts are uninspired, and the scene on the cover never happens in the novel! I don't know what Moody's previous hardcover jackets were like, or if her previous two books were even released in hardcover, but they were way more modern and enticing than this one. Too bad.)

Sometimes Mine is the story of Genie, a petite cardiologist entering middle-age. At the book's opening Genie has been engaging in a somewhat staid affair with a college men's basketball coach, Mick, for over ten years. They meet weekly for two hours in a hotel and talk on the phone. She watches and tapes all of his televised basketball games. Genie has convinced herself that her stressful and time-consuming job as a prominent cardiologist led to her failed marriage and is also the reason she would never have time for a relationship more demanding than hers with Mick.

Beyond the plot, which I don't think I should delve into any deeper, I want to commend Moody on her ability to fearless capture, with barely any hints of cliche, the depths of her characters. Mick is not a particularly likable person, but she manages to convincingly portray the sincerity and passion with which Genie loves him. Genie herself isn't a terribly likable heroine and both she and Mick suffer from the extent to which their high-pressure careers control their lives and complicate their relationships with their families and friends.

While I'll admit that books with this high a dose of realism don't appeal to me, it doesn't bother me with Moody's books. I am a person who cannot watch ER or Grey's Anatomy or General Hospital because I hate blood; I also fear getting blood drawn... hate the sight of it. But somehow reading about the fairly graphic medicaly procedures which Moody describes doesn't bother me. She does such a great job and I think this is due to her real experience as a medical professional. This experience is also what draws me to her books and characters; I respect them for their committment to such a noble profession and admire their hardworking qualities; if only every doctor should be like the earnest physicians who are the spotlight of her work.

The extensive descriptions of the game of basketball, on the other hand, were not always to my liking and I found myself glancing over them. I'm certainly a sports fan, but I've never been able to get into a book that tries to illustrate such physical games with words (Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain is another book that is near to my heart for many reasons and I found myself having a similar reaction to the racecar scenes in that novel). But I wouldn't let the sports-focus stop me from reading!

Anyway, two thumbs up for Ms. Moody and I'll continue to stalk her website until I can find out the release date for her next!

1 comment:

  1. she is a great writer...I know what you mean about being able to read the med. stuff versus seeing it all... great review!