Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Review: 'Best Intentions' by Erika Raskin

Marti Trailor is the long-suffering wife of Elliot, an OB-GYN who puts in insanely long hours at his hospital in Richmond, VA. Marti, a social worker, put her career on hold to be a stay-at-home mom. As the years pass, the couple's marriage becomes increasingly conflict-ridden. Elliot is often late, leaves home abruptly, and makes excuses for not participating in family outings. Although she does not enjoy nagging, Maggie is fed up with Elliot's surliness, neglect of his personal responsibilities, and outbursts of temper. The only bright spots in Marti's life are her three kids and new job; she has been offered a position providing counseling to disadvantaged mothers-to-be during their pregnancies and after they give birth.

In "Best Intentions," by Erika Raskin, the author demonstrates how formerly sound relationships can fray over time. Elliot and Marti were once happy together and Elliot had been a devoted dad. Unfortunately, things change, and it takes a while for Marti to realize that Elliot may have moved on without her noticing. Raskin goes back and forth between past and present. We know that Marti is in serious legal trouble, but the author withholds the details until she is prepared to reveal what has happened. Fortunately, Marti's close friend, the funny and compassionate Colby, is a source of emotional support throughout Marti's horrible ordeal.

In this legal, medical, and psychological drama, certain men and women make foolish choices that harm innocent people. Furthermore, Raskin explores the plight of single and impoverished females who do not have the emotional or financial resources to deal with impending parenthood; the old boys' and girls' network that protects physicians who make serious medical errors; and the venality of doctors who enter into cozy arrangements with pharmaceutical companies. The book's dialogue and action are briskly paced, and readers will sympathize with the beleaguered Marti as she tries to salvage her reputation. There are clich├ęs that prevent this from being a top-notch novel (for example, Elliot's mom is the stereotypical mother-in-law from hell), but Raskin entertains us with her tale of a good-hearted individual who fights for vindication under tragic circumstances.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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