My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Martha Moody’s keen observations on the human condition make The Office of Desire an entertaining read as she takes us through a year in the life of the doctors and staff of a small Midwest medical clinic… the trials and tribulations of marriage and family… the pitfalls of office romances and the re-examination of one’s own life life amidst the rise and fall of others. She writes inter-personal relationships quite well and the unraveling of office unity when those relationships falter.
The Office of Desire is insightful and compelling, thought-provoking and poignant. Martha writes with a narrative style that is comfortably-paced and descriptive, yet doesn’t bog the reader down in ‘place’, instead allowing us to identify with the characters… their thoughts and emotions. There is a strong sense of reality to the characters and the situations they face. We get to see them ‘warts’ and all; Martha doesn’t ‘air-brush’ them into the stereotypes so common to television and movies.
I would recommend The Office of Desire to anyone looking for a story that goes beyond the superficiality of a lot of the fiction out on the market today. This book will make you think… and that isn’t a bad thing in a market flooded with sugar-coated story-lines and one-dimensional characters.
I gave The Office of Desire only four stars… and I struggled a bit over that decision… not because it isn’t a good story – it is – but because I felt there were a couple of plot points that were a bit weak. This doesn’t take away from the story as a whole, however. I really have only one criticism and that is in regards to the HIPAA violation committed by one of the characters in discussing confidential patient information. I don’t know if that was done on purpose, and it does make for a good discussion point for a book group; it just unsettled me a little bit. I would like to think that doesn’t happen in real life, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. We are after all… only human.
One of the characters, Caroline, says this – “Desire is a dog impossible to train.”
We’ve all been bitten by that dog, and as the story shows… there really isn’t a cure for the pain that follows.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Cannon Beach, Oregon
9 June 2012