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Good Doctor’s Son

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“As I frantically tried to adjust the wobble and bring the rear into line, my palm slipped too far down the steering wheel, and the car jumped the curb of the Vales’ front yard and hit Paul Vale’s three-year-old sister.” If you think A Good Doctor’s Son by Steven Schwartz is a feel-good novel about a boy following in his father’s footsteps, you are mistaken. The story takes you through the life of David Nachman who desperately attempts to cope after accidentally killing a young girl while racing with his friends. This moment in his life changes everything from his relationships with others to the eventual breakdown of more than one family.

David is a Jewish boy living in a predominantly white area near Chester, PA. His parents have a shaky marriage that David suspects they continue only for his sake. He also has a brother, Adrian, an overachiever in high school who becomes a hippie when he attends New York University. David also befriends Calvin and Ronnie, two activists who influence David into being quite political himself for a short while. Finally Myra is David’s first love and the two are together until college ultimately splits them apart.

The book is a bit inconsistent when it comes to quality. At times, when important events are taking place or when he’s spending time with his friends and girlfriends, the book is enjoyable and hard to put down. However, the death of the young girl is brought up constantly and is almost unbearable to read. You feel good when you see David finally breaking free from his life of exile. You feel awful when you have to hear over and over how he cannot get the incident off his conscience.

Teens that want to know what it was like living through a crisis forty years ago or adults who would like to reflect on adolescence in the late 1960s should read A Good Doctor’s Son.





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