To Marcy with Love

Henry Denker, Author
Henry Denker, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (312p) ISBN 978-0-688-14612-2
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7089-8973-9
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Recovering alcoholics will probably cringe at Denker's (This Child Is Mine) concept of AA in this artless yarn about a young athlete's recovery from a Closed Head Injury (CHI)--and they won't be alone in their squirming. Surreptitiously basking in the heroics of his super-athlete son, Bud, functioning alcoholic Willard ""Pepper"" Young is involved in a car crash on New Year's Day that leaves Bud in a coma. The comatose patient eventually comes under the care of Marcy Etheridge, a dedicated physical therapist who is forced to play God while caring for Bud, managing Pepper's near hysterical antics and his codependent wife's sad manifestations. Information on the medical management of CHI cases is carefully presented, albeit in tedious and repetitive detail. But the narrative falters in its understanding of recovery procedures (after only a few days in AA, the father's sponsor starts him on Steps 8 and 9), and is further burdened by the long-suffering Marcy's trials of being overworked and underappreciated, a single mom and African American. Cartoonish characters, leaden prose and sentiment masquerading as emotion add up to a dispiriting tale. (May)
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