THE CHOICE by Henry Denker


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Denker (Judge Spencer Dissents; Robert, My Son, and many, many more) alternates between medical melodramas and courtroom mayhem; this time out, Hippocrates gets the nod in a spurious but nicely corn-pone tale of a saintly physician whose little daughter gets leukemia. Dr. Walt Duncan is a brilliant young orthopedic surgeon at a university medical center, beloved by all but those of us who must read about him: he makes the lame walk, testifies at malpractice suits against inept surgeons, and is sweetly unaware that all the nurses think he's a hot number. But the good doctor is also so caught up in healing that he doesn't have much time for his wife, Emily, and young daughter, Simone; only too late does he realize that Simone's fevers and easy bruising are the warning signs of the onset of leukemia. The girl dies, and Dr. Walt is in theatrical despair: "Why is it that the children of doctors seem to be the special victims of the worst disease?" asks his buddy, wise Dr. Sy Rosen (playing the Marcus Welby role). "It's as if disease knew its enemy and was striking back." Dr. Walt finally pulls himself together when he saves the leg of 16-year-old tennis star Amy Bedford, who has bone cancer--and even keeps her boyfriend from permanent paralysis when the boy has a motorcycle accident, in the end, violins play as the curtains come down on a sadder but wiser Walt--who will now adopt an abused child and may not wear his beeper so much. Typically, all of Denker's characters here are near saints or perfect idiots, but there's enough medical gore and hospital drama interplay to keep the novel rumbling along.
Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
ISBN: 068806745X
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1987


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