Sunday, April 10, 2011

Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

This was a book from the Vine Program. I freely admit that I had no interest in reading
anything remotely "Western" in flavor. I had no interest in John Henry "Doc" Holiday. I
requested this book because it is my opinion that Mary Doria Russell is not capable
of writing anything but a wonderful book. I was not disappointed.

We have all heard of Doc Holiday and the the gun fight at the OK Corral. For many of us,
that is as much as we know. Gun fight, shooting, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday. For many
of us, that has been enough. Who cares really, what a couple of gunslingers did during
one of their less then stellar moments?

Let me say that I care a lot more now than I did before. Doc is a novel. And of course a
certain amount of license was taken with the materiel available. This is not to say that
this is a work of pure fiction. Russell states that much of her research was based on a
biography that was written by a member of Doc's own family. That biographer was privy to
much family information and many letters and stories that another researcher might not
have available. This explains how the character of Doc Holiday and those around him are
so rich and full and real. This also explains why Doc is portrayed as so much more than
previous movies and novels suggested. We are shown a good, and in fact, sickly man who had some
bad times. He lived during a time when law was often taken lightly, when in fact there were
laws or lawmen to be found.

John Henry Holiday was well educated. He came from a good family, and he loved and was
loved. He left them, and the relative comfort of his family home in order to try to
keep his health. He like his mother before him suffered from tuberculosis. He was
a practicing dentist when he left home, and continued with the practice of dentistry
over the years, although it was not his main source of income. Doc will introduce you
to a much different man than the one you think you know. This is a page turner like all of
Russell's books. You will find yourself caring about the characters and wishing them well.
I found myself wondering how it would end, and sorry when it did.


And you might want to find yourself more books by this author, once the last page has been read

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