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text 2017-02-20 01:16
Medicine Walk - authentic, complex, brutal in it's truth


Franklin Starlight never knew his mother and the few encounters he's had with his alcoholic father left him hurt and disappointed.


He's been raised on a small ranch in northern British Columbia by "the old man", who's taught him everything he knows about ranching and wilderness survival. He's also taught him about integrity, self-esteem and the qualities of good character.


At sixteen, Franklin's more a man then most.


When he gets a call from his father he's tempted to ignore it, but this time it's different. His father is dying of liver disease and wants Frank to help him travel to remote ridge forty miles out in the wilderness. Once there he wants "a warrior's death", buried sitting upright in the ground facing east "so he can follow the rising sun across the sky to the Happy Hunting Grounds."


As it's his father's dying wish, Frank feels duty-bound to oblige him. Besides, he's longing to know more about his family history including how he came to be brought up by the "the old man".


So begins the journey, from a small mill town into the wilderness, Frank walking and leading a horse his father rides because he is too weak to walk.


As each mile passes Franklin begins to know his father as the man slowly divulges his personal history, Franklin's history.


In Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese has created a story that resonates on many levels. There's the portrayal of a Spartan way of life defined by hard manual labour, loyalty and integrity as conveyed in the characters of Franklin and "the old man".


Then there's the life Franklin's father has lived - one of never facing up to your demons and using alcohol to keep them at bay.


It's a story of the extremes of human nature - of doing the right thing no matter how tough and painful it is, and doing everything to avoid it.


Wagamese' dialogue is authentic, his characters complex, and his story is brutal in it's truth.





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review 2017-02-08 21:46
Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry - Nicholas Dodman DVM
Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry - Nicholas Dodman DVM

I don’t understand why anyone is reluctant to acknowledge that animals share some characteristics, behaviors, and susceptibilities, across species lines. Of course, one of the local colleges has recently started a huge cross-species cancer effort, working to save dogs and also maybe humans.  Library copy.

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review 2017-01-10 01:20
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition - Louise L. Hay,Mona Lisa Schulz

My main gripe as regards this book is that it does not seem to have been written by Louise Hay, which obviously I was expecting, because of her name on the cover. (I know she is getting on in age, but still.) If I had known it had been written by Mona Lisa Schultz, apparently alone, I would not have ordered it. The only visible contribution by Louise is her usual affirmations for the various complaints and information about their emotional causes, as we´ve seen in Louise´s previous books. All these are good, of course, but not really new.


Louise does write a “welcome”, where she tells us that she loves and adores her co-author, but this was obviously not enough.


The various chapters are built around the “seven emotional centers” and the illness and complaints pertaining to these. Most interesting were the sections entitled “From the clinic files” where real case histories are described.


There´s too much about medicine, Mona Lisa being a doctor. We are regaled with the names of all sorts of medicines – Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, morphine, codeine, Dilaudid, Demerol, heroin, Oxycodone, Benadryl, Clarinex, Atarax, Allegra ad infinitum. However, the clients whose clinic files are revealed to us generally drop their medicines at some point and are healed by changing their lives around by adopting new positive behaviours, intake of vitamins and other natural healthful preparations.


To sum up, this is a well-written, informative book, imparting much wisdom about the emotional causes of disease, the appropriate affirmations to use for each malady, and so on. However, I was disappointed that the book apparently wasn´t written by Louise Hay, and exasperated by all the references to traditional, harmful medicine.

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review 2016-12-12 16:04
Disturbing story quite well-written
Dr. Potter's Medicine Show - Eric Scott Fischl



This story takes place in the Old West around the end of the 19th century among the residents and artists of a travelling medicine show selling the usual ultimate remedy but with fiendish ulterior motives. The characters are the main attraction to this novel and they are well-conceived but mostly an unsympathetic lot.


With quite a lot of bloodshed, distasteful sexual abuse and death, this will not be to everyone's taste and I honestly thought of abandoning it several times but saw it through to the end. For the horror story aficionado.


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review 2016-10-11 02:15
Bellevue, by David Oshinsky
Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital - David Oshinsky

When I read non-fiction, I usually end up reading something weird (Agent Zigzag or Grunt) or something awful (Nazi Hunters or Five Days at Memorial). It’s rare that I read a book that highlights the better angels of our nature, but that’s what I found (for the most part) in David Oshinsky’s Bellevue: A History of America’s Oldest Hospital. There are varying dates for the founding of Bellevue Hospital stretching back to the 1730s. Bellevue has been open ever since the eighteenth century and only closed briefly once, during Superstorm Sandy. The hospital’s mission has always been to take care of patients who couldn’t pay for their care. Even today, they take care of people no one else will...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss for review consideration.

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