Dr. Merriel M. Chase is a native of Queens, New York. She is a retired general dentist turned author. Merriel has lived in five states including the capital of the United States of America. Dr. Chase is the author of three published novels. She is a volunteer at her local church in the Tech Arts department. Merriel's interests include reading, writing, listening to music, traveling, and communicating with friends and family.
“A kitchen-sink depiction of a dental student's psychological suppression.”
– Kirkus Reviews
An African-American woman heading to Howard University struggles in her relationships with men in this contemporary novel.
Columbia University student Jessica Euge is in the process of selecting a dental school. Determined to be financially independent, she is wary of men, given that her father physically assaulted her mother and sexually abused her and her sister before her parents divorced. Yet Jessica also enjoys losing her virginity to Eric Braswell, an Italian-American fellow student who takes her to the Rainbow Room in Manhattan on their first date. And her top dental school choice turns out to be Howard University in Washington, D.C., because she wants to “explore the male African American cream of the crop from the US and males from various countries.” During their early days of dating, Eric’s insecurities lead him to strike Jessica. He seeks out counseling, and urges Jessica to do the same, given her own apparent issues regarding confidence in her looks and, of course, in men. She stubbornly refuses, and the two break up. Jessica succeeds at Howard academically, but runs through a string of men. Eric soon gets trapped into a marriage with another woman due to her pregnancy, but he insists they call their child Jessica. By novel’s end, Jessica experiences financial and professional challenges upon graduation and a nervous breakdown that brings her under the care of a psychiatrist who finally gets her to look at her issues. Will she find a way to forgive her father—and reunite with Eric? Chase (Esmerelda, The Gifted, Volume 1, 2013) notes that her second novel is “based on true events,” and her narrative is indeed peppered with travelogue and documentary-like details (New York City restaurants, day trips from Washington, D.C., etc.). Unfortunately, this overload of real-life tidbits (do readers need a slice of history about the Watergate Hotel?) can distract from Chase’s intriguing core drama of slowly uncovering Jessica. The author effectively portrays the protagonist as rather robotic and schizophrenic (buying into religious views of premarital sex as a sin yet also actively pursuing it) in her intense acting out before finally facing her pain and denial.
A kitchen-sink depiction of a dental student’s psychological suppression.
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2016
Far Rockaway, New York
Gone With The Wind
Favorite line from a book
Unexpected skill or talent
Troubleshooting ailments associated within my body
Passion in life
Giving to others
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