Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Law of Similars

Finished February 21
The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian, read by Tim Jerome
Set in Vermont, this story has homeopathy as a main subject. Leland Fowler is a state prosecutor for Vermont and a single father. Two years ago, his wife Elizabeth was killed in a car accident and he is very close to his 4-year-old daughter Abby. For the last several months Leland has been fighting a cold that never seems to let go. He has tried any number of remedies and seen his doctor, but nothing works. In the local health food store, a clerk recommends her aunt, a homeopath. Leland Fowler goes to Carissa Lake, the homeopath and she prescribes him a remedy. Leland also finds himself interested in her romantically and mounts a campaign to persuade her in that regard.
At the same time, another patient of Carissa's doesn't fare so well. He has gone to Carissa for help with his dependency on drugs for asthma and dermititis. Carissa makes an offhand comment that is taken seriously and he ends up in a coma. And Carissa is the target of his wife's anger and frustration.
Given Leland's job, he is in a bad position of divided loyalties and finds himself making decisions and taking actions that he would just as soon not have anyone know.
There is a lot of information around the history and practice of homeopathy here, perhaps too much for me. The main substance of the plot is around moral and ethical dilemmas and the actions a person might take and the outcomes around that. To me, Leland is a weak character, and his attitude at the end of the book, to me, is a sad one. He is, as he puts it 'living for the future', and that is a sad state of mind. The story was interesting and the plot unique, but I felt unsatisfied at the end of the novel.

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