In this book Shriver examines the horrors of the American Health service, its myriad costs and corruptions. Anyone with a grudge to bear against the NHS should read this book as it will give you a new found appreciation of the tremendous benefits of the British system.
The characters are well drawn although I did get a bit angry with Shep for being such a softie for the majority of the book. His wife, Glynis, was a much tougher cookie although with her own failings too, but a well visualised character.
The character relationships were interesting and generally well portrayed. The presentation of cancer is unflinching and the reality of dealing with such a harrowing illness is dealt with honestly, with the friendships eventually tailing away leaving stalwart neighbours and help from the most unexpected quarters. Shep copes through it all.
This is a well paced novel with Shriver exploring the trials and tribulations of life with wit and a perceptive outlook.
Warning Plot Spoilers
I did find the whole ‘Happy ending’ of Shep finally fulfilling his dream a tad contrived and felt that this ending, although fitting with what we wanted for his lovely character, did not really lend itself to the condemnation of the American system that is such an important aspect of the book.