The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage
Annie is a feminist professor living with her doctor husband in a smallish upstate New York town, Albany to be exact. Annie has a house, she has two kids, and she has a doctor husband, but things are not as happy as they seem. Something awful happens to her husband, Michael, and she knows she had at least a small part to play in it.
Michael doesn’t spend a lot of time with his family. He always seems to be working. When his friend Celina asks him to help out with an abortion clinic, he agrees. He gets to see a little more of Celina and he gets to do something that his wife considers a good thing.
Meanwhile, Annie meets an interesting artist, who is also a professor where she works. He is strange and his wife is strange. The wife is beautiful, but she always seems like she’s not always there.
The artist, Simon, finds himself drawn to Annie, who is very real instead of his wife, who seems as if she’s simply a walking painting. The wife, Lydia, finds her solace in religion, but because Lydia isn’t quite as stable as she should be, she finds herself sucked into a fanatic group.
Annie and her husband Michael soon start experiencing harassment because of where Michael is working in his spare time. There are terrible packages in the mail. There are candid photos. There are bicycle accidents. There’s also plenty more and everything seems connected.
What I liked
Everything did seem to fall into place, perhaps not neatly, but it fell into place. I did like how everything seemed to weave back in on itself.
What I didn’t like
The book is a fine read. It’s entertaining. It’s a bit of a thriller. It’s a bit of a mystery. It serves its purpose.
What I don’t like about it is that it’s all so canned.
A feminist writing professor–been there, done that, in like a million books.
An eccentric artist who seems eccentric to everyone and has an interesting past life–yep, been done.
A doctor who works way too much at the expense of his family–oh Good Lord, like we haven’t heard this ten million times.
A religious woman who turns out to be a fanatic and mentally unbalanced–yep, yep, and more yep.
This has all been done before, all of it. The abortion clinic thing is just a different setting. Why does the religious person always have to be a fanatic? You know, that’s not how it works. In fact, that’s not how to works most of the time. Sometimes the religious person goes to church on Sunday and works throughout the week and they’re pretty normal. Sometimes that doctor goes golfing and spends lots of time with his family. Maybe that writing professor isn’t a feminist, maybe she’s a conservative Christian who won’t hear of feminism. Maybe that artist has a regular 9-5 job, but paints on the weekends. I feel as if all these characters are stereotyped and I don’t like it.
I also don’t like how the entire story seems to pay lip service to some pro-abortion agenda that makes anyone anti-abortion out to be a religious, mentally unstable, fanatic. Let me tell you something, a lot of people who are anti-abortion are from various religious sects and they don’t like it, but they’re not going to bomb your abortion clinic. Not everyone who is pro-abortion is a card-carrying radical feminist. Sometimes people are just people without extreme characteristics, even if they have specific opinions. There was not one, not a single pro-life person in this book, depicted as a normal and sane person. Not one. Those people do exist.
I get it, don’t bomb the abortion clinic; that’s not nice, people.
Still an interesting read, but maybe a little ho-hum as far as characters.
Do stereotypes make good books or bad books?
What about novels that seem to have strong political agendas? Yeah or Nay?