Dimitra | 2/9/2014
" I think the loss of one star for me is because of the very "real" portrayal of a family. Some parts between the husband and wife were so relatable that they made me cringe. I guess that if you're in a good relationship or if you grew up with parents who had a good relationship you might think differently. Overall, though, this is a story with a happy ending dispite the bleak-ness in the beginning, about triumphing over monetary problems,making inter-cultural connections, and a good "family keeps together" theme. "
Bj Travis Thomas | 2/3/2014
" One of my favorite books of 2011. Characters were all well-developed and the plot/storyline held my interest throughout the book. "
Jmm | 1/9/2014
" Healer, Carol Cassella's sophomore novel, is a solid family drama with an original storyline that is very in tune with today. Claire and Addison Boehning were one of Seattle's golden couples who went from struggling to rich almost overnight when Addison, a biochemist, discovered a way to test for ovarian cancer in its very early stages. They have one daughter, Jory, who is fourteen. When the book opens, Addison has invested and lost the family's home and savings in a new project that developed problems in initial testing. The family has been forced to sell their home in Seattle and move into their unrenovated vacation home located in the mountains of eastern Washington. Claire is hunting for a job as a family physician, a profession she has never actually practiced as she was 3 months shy of completing her residency when Jory arrived prematurely. Unable to have any other children, Claire chose to stay at home with her one child rather than return to complete her residency and board certification. Unfortunately, that choice has left her with few options for locating a position from which to launch her medical career. She eventually takes the only position offered her as a doctor in nonprofit clinic for migrant laborers where the hours are long and the pay extremely low. Meanwhile, Addison is trying to drum up new investors so he can continue work on his project that already has cost him almost everything he owns.
As a practicing anesthesiologist, Cassella uses her professional knowledge and experience with the medical community to craft a very original plot that explores the way medical research is done in the United States. At the same time as Addison finds a wealthy investor who seems eager to provide new funding for Addison's project, Claire has discovered that some patients at her clinic, immigrant migrant workers, have been enrolled in clinical trials for another drug. Through these two situations, Cassella exposes some little known loopholes in clinical drug testing, as well as drawing a grim picture of the life of the migrant workers who pick the nation's crops. The author provides some aesthetic release to these clinical tensions with her lyrical portrayals of the rugged landscape.
While the medical plot proved sufficient to carry the novel, I sometimes found myself tiring of Claire's constant inner dialogue about her relationships with Addison and Jory and her constant flashbacks to Jory's infancy and childhood. The economic aspects of the family's situation produced the biggest weakness in the story as the parents seemed to have or not have money to pay for things based on whether or not it allowed the characters to do what the author wanted and not what their economic situation would dictate. I found these moments jarringly unrealistic and they left me unable to take Claire's character seriously. However, despite these flaws, Healer is an interesting novel which I recommend for fiction readers who enjoy medical and/or family drama. "
Mary (BookHounds) | 12/31/2013
" I enjoyed Oxygen, the author debut and Cassella sticks to what she knows. The family is living the American dream and when it is all swept away, the Boehnings must learn to regroup and return to their roots. Parts of this book ring really true since so many people spend money that they should be saving. Addison creates a mess when he gambles their life savings on a new cancer treatment without Claire's knowledge. This is never a good thing in a marriage. The story is well paced and although I didn't agree with some of it, I could see where the author was going. She really painted a complete picture of the family's strife. "
Darla | 12/26/2013
" I would give this book 4 stars. The writing was a little detailed and descriptive for my taste, but it was easy to skip over and get to the real story, which was quite intriguing. "
Barbara | 12/22/2013
" Wealthy family suddenly on the brink. Husband's investments gone sour and suddenly the nickels and dimes are counted carefully. This story was interesting to watch - seeing the three family members adjust. In any other novel, the wife would have taken the daughter and left. Here, she felt lied to and betrayed, but remained loyal. "
Elizabeth | 12/16/2013
" Mix of migrant worker medical challenges, bio-medical rise and fall and an over-priveldged family that has trouble living within their new means. "
Doreene | 10/2/2013
" This book was just a bit too slow at the beginning and dealt too much on the financial status of the family involved. The ending was thought provoking. "
Chris | 8/25/2013
" I have really enjoyed Carol Cassella's writing. She's an anesthesiologist in Washington and her novels are about medicine, family and the state of Washington. Very good writing and excellent grasp of genuine issues in her writing. Good book! "
Suni | 1/26/2013
" really liked this book - good for a book discussion group - how a couple deal with the loss of income and having to downsize their living expenses - I highly recommend this book "
Lila | 6/5/2012
" A family loses millions of dollars when the husband's research is compromised. The wife goes back to work and they all learn to love more simply. "
Shelley Graves | 4/14/2012
" A nice story but lacks depth, really just skims the surface of the issues that it deals with. Also, mentions class but really doesnt deal with differences and class and wealth in America like it could. "
Rachel | 7/8/2011
" Life's unexpected curves explored. Not amazing, but entertaining. "
Janet | 1/9/2011
" I enjoyed this fast easy reading book. "
ZoÃ« Barlow | 12/6/2010
" The ending wasn't what you expected. The inside cover flap gave away a lot of the story. This could have been split into 2 books. Pertinent to people today. The book could have been a little more focused on the family than it was, more detail would have gone a long way. "
Jay DeVine | 10/22/2010
" This book in well-written, and most of the characters are nicely fleshed out. But, although I liked the book, I think there was just too much going on in the various sub-plots, any one of which might have made a great novel by itself. "