Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead

Subtitled: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America
Nonfiction by Laurie Kaye Abraham.

Published in 1994, this story of the "failure of health care in urban America" is a bit out of date. Still, I doubt the health care system today is markedly better, to be honest.

There are so many factors involved in health care legislation that I wonder if it's even possible to "fix" it at this point. The health insurance system alone (both public and private) is a money and power giant that I don't see caving anytime soon to being streamlined or regulated.

So in a way, reading this book was kind of a waste of my time, if we are talking about finding a way to actually solve this huge problem that's been growing for oh-these-many-years. In general, this is why I dislike "political" books: they spend pages and pages on The Problem without ever offering a viable solution.

But what interested me in picking up this book in the first place was the story of a family. The author followed a specific "poor" family in Chicago with chronic health problems (the husband had kidney failure, the old grandmother has uncontrolled diabetes, the father was also disabled, and the poor woman had to take care off all of them while raising three kids) and reported on how they personally navigated the convoluted setup of public health care. So I was interested in learning about these people and their lives.

The thing that struck me while reading this was, although the Health Care System is a problem I can't by any means solve, or even really understand, it was  individual people who really made a difference in this family's lives. There was mentioned one doctor, one social worker, and one intern in the sea of health care workers that this family had to deal with who genuinely tried to connect and care as best they could. And interestingly, these were described as religious people, including an Orthodox Jew and  Catholic nun.

So I'm taking that as inspiration when face with The Unsolvable: just to do what I can to care and connect with people.

I'm pretty sure that's not the point the author intended, but...

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mrs. Pollifax Pursued

Fiction by Dorothy Gilman.

This is book number eleven in the Mrs. Pollifax series; I just found it at the library book sale and remembered how I'd enjoyed the Mrs. Pollifax books in the past. I got the next couple of books in the series to read too.

These are fun mysteries about an old lady who goes to work for the CIA, with her only (seeming) advantage being that she is last type of person one would expect might be a spy. Start with book #1 if you are interested, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.

I also read by this author: Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief

Saturday, October 6, 2018


Fiction by Caroline Kepnes.
This was a dark thriller that was a little TOO dark for me.

The plot was compelling and the characters well-written, but I didn't like them at all. It's pretty obvious from the beginning, so I don't think it's a spoiler to say this a stalker story. It's written from the point of view of the psycho-predator-guy, so the reader gets way into his head (again, a little TOO dark), but it's hard to identify with him, or even with his victim(s).

It's a good enough book, but I didn't really like it. Still, I can't give a thumbs-down if it kept my attention so... well...

I also read recently by this author: Providence

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Peril at End House

Fiction by Agatha Christie.

This book, first published in 1932, was next on my list of Agatha Christie's mysteries in order. On b&, it is listed as #8 in the Hercule Poirot series. I guess at this point Mrs. Christie had decided that she was stuck with continuing to write the Poirot character, after her attempt to retire him in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

This is one of her best Poirot stories, in my opinion, because he takes so long to arrive at the solution to the mystery. (In most books he seems to have everything figured out right away, and spends most of the book sneering at everyone for not knowing the answers.)

I have previously read this book, recently enough to be able remember who the murderer was before I was halfway finished, but the story is still very good.

I recently read by this author: The Sittaford Mystery

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Secrets She Keeps

Fiction by Michael Robotham,
This story is told through the points of view of two London women, both expecting a baby around the same time. Meg is a mummy blogger with two young children and a "perfect" home and husband. Agatha is a supermarket stock girl who idolizes Meg and her family. The reader can tell there is something wrong about Agatha's interest in Meg, but the plot twists are pretty surprising!

I won't give anything away; just read it! Great book!