Paul's Reviews > The Doctor's House
The Doctor's House
by Ann Beattie
by Ann Beattie
Pretty damn fantastic. The first third would almost make a great novella in itself, though the second two parts are definitely needed. Three separate characters (daughter, mother, son) discussing the same basic set of circumstances (namely the two children's upbringing, retrospectively) in first person. THIS is what first person was meant for, and I wish more (mostly young/contemporary/hip) writers would realize this, is to allow a character to speak about him/herself and others with an unwarranted authority, which the reader can quickly or else gradually discern is unwarranted. We first realize that Nina isn't really/exactly what she says she is, and her mother's section corroborates this. (Third person wouldn't allow this discrepancy between narrator reader.) The second / mother's section is probably the weakest, maybe because she's a less interesting character, or maybe because it seems somewhat as if Beattie is doing some work to refute what we "think we know" about Nina. It's the shortest section, though, and it's still great, and when things switch to brother Andrew's perspective, we're back to a fascinating, touching, and insightful character's POV (also possessive of a somewhat skewed self-image). Beattie really knows how to paint a portrait of a household. If anything's wrong with the book it's that the father (the titular doctor) is somewhat of a monster, though I can't fully say he wasn't believable. Not subtle, though. We don't get his POV, and that's probably a good thing, as giving us that would have been too easy, but as a result he comes off as the definite Bad Guy, or cause of all things bad. Sort of. Anyway, I will absolutely read this again, as soon as I've read a bunch more Beattie.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Doctor's House.sign in »