Bedside Manners

As Joyce Novak’s daughter, Marnie, completes medical school and looks ahead to a surgical internship, her wedding, and a future filled with promise, a breast cancer diagnosis throws Joyce’s own future into doubt. Always the caregiver, Joyce feels uncomfortable in the patient role, especially with her husband and daughter. As she progresses through a daunting treatment regimen including a biopsy, lumpectomy, and radiation, she distracts herself by planning Marnie’s wedding.

When the sudden death of a young heroin addict in Marnie’s care forces Marnie to come face-to-face with mortality and her professional inadequacies, she also realizes she must strike a new balance between her identity as a doctor and her role as a supportive daughter. At the same time, she struggles with the stark differences between her fiancé’s family background and her own and comes to understand the importance of being with someone who shares her values and experiences.

Amid this profound soul-searching, both Joyce and Marnie’s futures change in ways they never would have expected.

My Review

I like Marnie. She had a nice personality. This was not just due to her profession in the medical field. Yet, at the same time when you think of people in the medical field; there are good and bad ones. Luckily, Marnie is a good one. For example, as part of her first tasks, she has to change an colostomy bag. The patient and Marnie both know she is a "virgin" at changing colostomy bags. So to lighten the mood, they joke about the hospital food.

Not that I am taking anything away from Joyce. The word "cancer" would scare me. In fact, it does. Yet, I thought that Joyce had a good attitude about the situation. However, I just could not connect with her as well as I did Marnie. When Marnie was not the main focal voice I kind of lost interest in the story. Overall, though I thought this was a nice read.


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