A clumsy medical student pratfalls her way through relationships, family feuds and scientific breakthroughs in this winsome romantic comedy.
Nicknamed “Oops” by her fellow students for the scalpel accidents that plague her tremulous hand, Emma Silberlight considers herself “a hazard to the occupation” as well as “a klutz [and] a sex addict” with “a really big mouth” that she habitually inserts her foot into. She’s happy to leave New York for a monthlong posting in Brazil that involves nothing bloodier than data entry, especially so she can get some distance from her boyfriend, Thomas, who mixes gratifyingly kinky sex with morose alcoholism. She revels in Brazilian food and dancing and doesn’t even mind the giant cockroaches, although she could do without her boss, who mistreats his girlfriend and makes drunken passes at her. (The manifold irresponsibilities of the members of the male sex are a prominent theme here.) Returning to New York with a fungus that miraculously cures skin cancer, she struggles to break up with the preternaturally sexy Thomas (the manifold charms of the male anatomy are an equally prominent theme). Then a tutoring gig with a bratty but strangely familiar little girl who demands candy to do homework plunges Emma into a life-and-death medical crisis and reignites her issues with her long-estranged mother, Cecile. Emma’s story is a tasty trifle written in lilting prose, with lots of breezy, bawdy relationship talk among girlfriends, luscious food porn, edgy romance and the bare minimum of laboratory medicine required to ground the plot without weighing it down. The author stocks it with vibrant, sharply etched characters—especially Cecile, a feminist and agnostic whose hard-boiled humanism falters when it comes to her daughter. Emma is an appealing heroine cut from the Bridget Jones cloth, so charmingly imperfect and insecure that readers can’t help rooting for her.
Entertaining chick lit that’s just what the doctor ordered.