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Cure for Modern Life (Review)

lighter-touch-6

The Cure for Modern Life
Lisa Tucker, 2008
369 pp.

 

Book Review by Molly Lunduist
July 2009

What was it Good Housekeeping had to say about this novel? Oh, yes—an "emotionally satisfying page-turner": a nicely cliched phrase which pretty much sums up The Cure. But I like this book—a light, breezy read with some good heft to it (okay, more cliche).

Matthew and Amelia, once lovers, are now rivals. The two battle over corporate ethics—Matthew as a top-level pharmaceutical exec and Amelia as an independent medical ethicist.

Into the mix are dropped two homeless waifs, 10-year-old Danny and his toddler sister Isabelle, who of course squirrel their way into everyone's affections. The end is hardly surprising, but it's the getting there that makes it fun— it's done with a fair amount of style and aplomb (oops, 'nother cliche).

At stake is what constitutes good and evil, both personal and societal, and the protagonists dig in their heels. It turns out everyone pulls a con job on everyone else to get what they need or want—everyone, with the exception of little Isabelle. The fun is having it all come together: the bad guy not so bad, the good gal not so sure of herself, the little boy not so innocent...or so hardened, and a dear friend not quite the moral hero he's touted to be. But we're still left to ponder—where does morality lie—and which morality takes precedence—public or private?

It's an engrossing tale, even laugh-out-loud funny in parts. Lisa Tucker's style, if more than a little Hollywood screenplay-ish (John Cusack, I'm thinking), makes this a perfect Lighter Touch pick— and a super book club read.

See our Reading Guide for The Cure for Modern Life.

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