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The Law of Similars

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  7,487 ratings  ·  534 reviews
From the number one bestselling author of Midwives comes this riveting medical thriller about a lawyer, a homeopath, and a tragic death.  

When one of homeopath Carissa Lake's patients falls into an allergy-induced coma, possibly due to her prescribed remedy, Leland Fowler's office starts investigating the case. But Leland is also one of Carissa's patients, and he is beginn
...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published March 14th 2000 by Vintage (first published December 29th 1998)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  7,487 ratings  ·  534 reviews


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Shelly
Aug 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I don't recommend this to anyone. This book reminded me of reading the train wreck that was The House of Sand and Fog. Lots of people making a lot of stupid decisions. People being entirely selfish. Not a single character you can actually admire or respect. I don't think this book has a single redeeming feature. It is awfully similar to Midwives (in terms of general plot), and I wonder if the author was just trying to borrow from the successes of that book.

I enjoyed Midwives, and I'd feel okay
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Rose
Sep 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Chris Bohjalian's great talent is to bring his readers into the lives of ordinary people at the moment that those lives begin to unravel. With great compassion and suspense, he demonstrates the struggles that ensue. You embrace every character in their very human nature.

In THE LAW OF SIMILARS he introduces you to yet another moral dilemma; alternative medicine, specifically, homeopathy. How much are we responsible for our own decisions for our health? When things go wrong how far will we go to
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Jessica
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
For years, people I trust have been telling me to read Chris Bohjalian. Now that I've finally gotten around to it, I'm sorry I waited so long. This is the best kind of "gripping tale" that book jacket copy is always promising us. It's a thriller, but not a sensational one. These are ordinary people in ordinary circumstances -- no government conspiracies or serial killers to plump up the plot. It's just a convincingly complicated tale about bad decisions compounded by lust, loneliness and despera ...more
Karen
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: botns-rec
I thought the premise and plot idea for this book was really intriguing and had a lot of promise. But in the end, it just didn't deliver for me. The introduction of Richard Emmons earlier in the story was choppy and not at all fluid. There was much jumping back and forth but the transitions weren't handled well.

The idea of a homeopath dating a state's attorney who then finds herself potentially libel for a patient's negative reaction and complicating her relationship with the attorney was very
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Brandy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cece
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Found this at a second hand bookstore even though it’s a title I wasn’t familiar with. I have read several of Bohjalian’s novels and have enjoyed his writing. This one was a little off for me. Leland was a character I had a hard time relating to. The subject matter was intriguing to me, but the story fell flat. This certainly won’t derail me from more of his novels, it just wasn’t as good as his other works.
Katie
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love Chris Bohjalian's books and have decided I'm going to read all his stuff (I love discovering authors like this!) and this one was quite good, although definitely not my favorite of his (it'll be tough to top "Midwives"). I just find his writing very compelling, gripping, and I generally like his topics (medical/legal mysteries, but very character-driven--and I love all the Vermont settings).

This one had all of that (compelling writing and interesting characters) but I found the ending kin
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Marie Theron
One cannot put this novel in the same class as the excellent Midwives by the same author. There is almost no tension and everything is predictable.



Homeopathic medicine is not sacrosanct, we use it all the time and can buy it readily, and I cannot imagine a homeopath hiding 'the cure' or withholding it. It is really sad that the Richard character was banned from having more of the so-called 'cure', and driven to his tragic self-experimenting. He was keen for a breakthrough and Carissa fobbed him
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Kendra
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is very similar to Midwives (written by the same author) and I enjoyed it about the same. Leland narrates as he shares the story of a month that changed his life. Leland’s wife died in a car accident and left him with a baby daughter. A few years after his wife’s death, Leland meets Carissa Lake, a homeopath. Leland falls head over heels in a very short period of time…but at the same moment Leland is feeling blissfully happy, horror is happening within another family also involved with ...more
Lianne
Jul 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Interesting story about a lawyer who falls in love with a homeopath. One of the homeopath's patients falls into a coma and eventually dies. The back cover describes it as a thriller, but I see it more as a story of ethics, relationships, and responsibility. ...more
Derek Eidick
Feb 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-read
I was introduced to Chris Bohjalian’s writing through my mom, who read his book, Midwives, when it was hot on Oprah’s Book Club list and who later recommended that I read it (but not until after I’d already delivered my first child). Several years later I read another of his books and enjoyed it as much as the first, but it’s taken me another year to read another. This third book piqued my interest because it deals with the science of homeopathy, a healing art that I briefly researched in colleg ...more
Sharon Metcalf
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Two years ago Elizabeth Fowler died suddenly after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. She left behind her husband Leland and toddler daughter Abby. Since then Leland has done his best and is a devoted single dad but he has never stopped missing his wife. He struggles to find the balance between his work as chief deputy states attorney as a prosecutor and raising his precious girl. His health has been suffering, not in a big way but he's had a cold he cant shake and decides to see a home ...more
Patty
Mar 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Hooker
Most books have a main character who is good and who does good things throughout the book. Bohjalian's book, "The Law of Similars" is a bit like watching a train wreck as the reader morbidly watches a very sympathetic main character risk disassembling his life and career before our eyes. Leland Fowler is an assistant state attorney whose wife was killed in a tragic car accident two years before. He bravely continues, working as a single father to raise his daughter, and to do good work in the st ...more
Sue
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Probably I would not have picked up this book had my Book Group not been reading and discussing it later in the week. I looked at the 320 pages, and wondered if I could plod my way through it by Wednesday. But then I started reading, and literally could not put it down. Leyland and Carissa became real. Despite the fact that I got a bit irritated with them at times - after all, Leyland is a bit of a hypochondriac and Carissa can be a little intense. But I lived their tale and here in sunny Florid ...more
☮Karen
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I agree with the reviewer Tom who said this book is like watching a train wreck. The 2 main characters made some very stupid but well intentioned choices in their lives and careers, and I had a hard time feeling any sympathy for either of them in the end. The best parts of the book were the educational segments on homeopathy, and I loved that he makes the point that although many of the drugs used by homeopaths are poisons, such as arsenic, belladonna or tarantula venom, so is chemotherapy being ...more
Kristen
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was an interesting story - I learned a little about homeopathy - but I get really frustrated with Bohjalian's style. I find his writing unnecessarily dramatic, and I wish he would stop with this foreboding sense of doom he uses throughout his books. With this book, and with Midwives, it caused me to be very disappointed at the ending, which in both books I felt was not worth all of the build-up. ...more
Marylene
This book was tough to get into. It didn't catch my interest in the beginning, but once I got closer to the middle of the book, it got better for me. The book was well written, but the story was just ok for me. By the end of the book it was much more invested and then a bit of disappointment again at the very end. I thought something bigger would happen. ...more
Rina
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A widower, attorney Leland Fowler, and his little girl live in a small town; he works in the larger city nearby. Hehas a malady that has not been served well by his medical professionals. He, though skeptic, turns to a homeopath, Carissa Lake. After two years of being a widower, he finds himself falling in love. But the coin turns when one of her patients falls into a coma and she is under investigation. Leland the straight arrow finds himself faced with a moral and ethical dilemma. The story is ...more
Connie T.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
"The Law of Similars" has a somewhat satisfying ending but the premise upon which the whole story is based is hard to believe. During the two years Leland has been a widower, he has only gone on a handful of dates. He doesn't appear to be interested in finding love or establishing a relationship. Nor does he engage in one-night stands. Yet the moment he enters the health food store, he fantasizes about the woman working there. He returns, encounters a different woman and again has sexual thought ...more
Mallory
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It is at night, after all, when without fail the strangest crimes in this world occur, and some of the biggest mistakes are made. I know. For years, I have helped clean up the mess that is left in their wake. - Leland Fowler

Conventional medicine vs. traditional cures. A flippant remark with possibly fatal consequences. Morals gone astray. There's a lot to digest in this short, compelling novel. Much like Midwives, there is uncertainty about whether or not a crime has been committed. Although th
...more
Heather
May 06, 2010 rated it liked it
The first Chris Bohjelian book I ever read was Midwives, in 1997. It's the story of a well-trained modern midwife who performs and emergency cesarean section on a woman she believes has died of a stroke during childbirth. But what if the woman she thought was dead wasn't, and she herself caused the fatal injury? The novel examines the debate over alternative medicine through a gripping personal account of tragedy. I devoured this book, and developed an instant love for the author. I would have r ...more
William Au
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"The Law of Similars" is an astonishing novel about the hardships Leland Fowler faces when he loses his wife in a car crash, leaving him with grief and his young daughter.

The most pleasurable aspect of this book is definitely the character development of Leland. Chris Bohjalian develops Leland's character very uniquely by using Leland himself; everything he does and thinks constantly revealing more to Leland's character throughout the entire book. "I raise my daughter. I go to work. And thoug
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Betelle
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Book clubs
Recommended to Betelle by: Bohjalian fan
Here is another of Bohjalians' page turners. Again the setting is New England(Vermont) ...a close community. It is the story of the downfall of widowed Leland, a state prosecuter, and his four year old daughter who after developing a relationship with Carissa, the town homeopath, become involved in a malpractice struggle between Carissa and a deceased patient. The plot captured me and as I neared the end of the book, I ran over in my mind all the possible endings...none which brought me satisfac ...more
Bonnie
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed this book. I started hearing lots of great things about this author and so I picked up every one of his books that the library had. First of all, his writing is right up my alley: rich and memorable, without being pretentious or overly flowery. The story itself was pretty magnificent too. A widowed attorney (state prosecutor) with a young daughter finds himself newly enamored with both the idea of homeopathy and the local homeopath. They have a brief romantic relationship and th ...more
Donna
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have been home not feeling well this week and enjoying lots of reading! This is another Chris Bohjalian (dos anyone know how to say that last name!) novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It kept me reading with hints of things to come, so I finished it quickly.

This author has a definite way of bringing you into the characters and story right away. I had read Midwives recently and this one also set in Vermont with homeopathic medicine at the center in place of midwives. Very interesting. The main c
...more
Badly Drawn Girl
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it

Chris Bohjalian has become my favorite contemporary author and this book is an excellent example of his talent. I actually started this over a year ago and couldn't get into it. Thankfully, I kept it on my to-read shelf and gave it another chance. Whatever tripped me up the first read through was missing this time... I was immediately sucked in. I thought the character of Leland was brilliant, in all his flawed ways. This is a character being allowed to show off all sides of his personality, and
...more
SteffieStar
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chris-bohjalian
Chris Bohjalian...I am Leland, I hear, feel, taste & understand his dreams & wants! You so have a special GIFT with words my Friend!

I've always been interested in homeopathic medicine, your story helped me understand the Law of Similars. Let likes be treated by likes.

The curative virtue of medicines thus depends on their sysmptoms being similar to those of the disease, but the stronger.

It follows that...disease can be destroyed and removed most surely, throughly, swiftly and permanently only by
...more
Doug
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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9,225 followers
Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies.

His forthcoming novel, "Hour of the Witch," arrives on May 4, 2021. It's a novel of historical suspense set in 1662 Boston, a tale of the first divorce in North America for domestic violence -- and a subsequent witch trial.

His most recent novel, “The
...more

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