So Much For That by Lionel Shriver
Reviewed by Erin
It almost seems impossible that a novel that cracks open the health care system could be so supremely readable and enjoyable, but that’s the genius of Lionel Shriver. Shep has sold his handyman company, and he is ready to leave the American Dream behind and retire in an exotic locale. Nobody, even his wife and son, are going to hold him back—sort of. Well, it would be a very short, boring book if it all worked out, so basically all manner of serious misfortune derails Shep’s dream. His wife gets a rare, fast-moving cancer, and the novel unfolds as his bank account depletes. It’s hard to watch Shep’s dream unfurl, but Shriver’s witty banter softens the blow. Did I mention that his dad is holed up in a nursing home too? And his best friend has a child with complex medical issues? Yep, Shriver is hitting the health care systems from all angles, and yet. . . it doesn’t feel contrived (90% of the time) and you can even laugh through it. The second half of the book really takes off, and you are bouncing along with it. You’ll be saving for your own private island by the end.