Thursday, September 23, 2010

So much for that

I'm talking about the book by Lionel Shriver. I finished it ages ago - had to, because the library only lets you borrow a book for 4 weeks and won't let you renew.


The premise of the book is this. What do you do if you are finally - after decades of dreaming, planning, earning and saving - ready to take the plunge and retire to a life of relative luxury on a beautiful-but-cheap third world country...only to find out that your spouse has cancer and needs the not-quite-adequate health insurance that comes with your hated job?

I was prepared for the book to be depressing, but it wasn't all that. The guy whose life dream was so rudely crushed, whose savings are now destined to be flushed down the black hole that is the cost of American healthcare, doesn't sink into a pit of despair. He rises to the challenge of looking after his wife, who is bitter and angry at her fate; stays in his thankless job under a useless jerk of a boss; and staunchly deals with it. Then he wins.
When Shriver (through her characters) talks about the American healthcare system, it's like she did all her research from the Mike Moore movie. Actually, if you're quite cynical about the American way of life and the way it seems to be controlled by the rich and the corporate, you'll be nodding and going "hell yeah!" and "bastards!".

But our hero, the little guy who plays by the rules, well you could say he wakes up.
There's even a happy ending.


april said...

I thought Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin was amazing (if you haven't read it, I heartily recommend), but I tried to read The Post-Birthday World and wasn't impressed or able to get through it. Is So Much for That worth putting on my library list?

Nigel Patel said...

I thing the "American Way" can credibly be called "Corporatopia".

donnasoowho said...

I didn't know that Lionel was a girl's name too.

Violet said...

april: yeah I'm a big fan of "Kevin" - it's one of the few books I can re-read repeatedly without getting bored. I'd recommend this one too.

nigel: there's a lot anti-American-way in the book, but it didn't bother me much because that's the general view I've always had of the culture anyway.

donna - nah. She chose it because it was a man's name. apparently it's not her given name.