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More Than it Hurts You

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,498 ratings  ·  314 reviews
The acclaimed author of Chang and Eng returns with a literary showstopper— a beautifully realized novel that at its heart is the story of a woman who will risk everything to feel something; a doctor whose diagnosis brings her entire life into question; and a man who suddenly realizes that being a good husband and a good father can no longer comfortably coexist.

Josh Goldin
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 19th 2008 by Dutton Adult (first published June 17th 2008)
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2.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,498 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: your better class of beach-readers and airport-browsers
A comment below hints at some of my concerns as I got underway, and the book never really broke from its initial, out-of-the-gate stride. A fast read, and casually engaging, but its ambitious ingredients (the sweep of a social-issues canvas, the page-turner, the incisive character satire) never synthesized into a satisfying meal.

Besides its indebtedness to Franzen and Wolfe, there were explicit head-nods to Amis and to Bellow, hints of Atwood at her sliest and sharpest. All great people to stea
Aug 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was so painful to go through. I just couldn't get hooked on this book no matter how hard I tried. It's very slow-paced and not eventful enough for me; the author, Darin Strauss, focused too much on developing characters and describing settings rather than the actual story plot. Unfortunately, the topic this story revolves around is very interesting.
The story starts off with a new mother, Dori, who rushes her baby to a hospital after he is injured. An African-American doctor, Darlene,
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is an absorbing psychological study of what people do to motivate themselves and others as well as what secrets and lies they tell themselves to do so. At one point a main character asks himself "How much blindness does a happy life require?" On the surface, this is a story about a family dealing with allegations of Munchausen by Proxy (where a parent makes a child ill or hurts it to get the attention for themselves). But that is only one layer of the deep and varied textures of this story. ...more
gwen g
Aug 12, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is trying to take on so many Big Topics -- race, gender, class, etc., etc. -- all under the umbrella of Munchausen's by proxy, which is one of those car-wreck-curious sorts of topoics. I want to say it half-succeeds, because the book is immensely readable and the characters very believable -- especially the mother, Dori, who I imagine would have been the most difficult character to write.

But maybe it's a classic situation of Strauss biting off more than he could chew, because somehow
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Munchausen by proxy is obviously a super creepy interesting topic, but this book has too many characters, none of them really likable, and too much going on, like a character named Intelligent Muhammad, and this fake Jon Stewart monologue, ugh:

"So, I misunderstood," Jon Stewart was saying. "I thought you guys were offering me the Nightline job. Are you not ABC?"

Stewart enjoyed this joke, and to show this he turned from the microphone and covered his own laugh by moving a fist over his mouth, as
Amanda Pemberton
Feb 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I very rarely cannot finish a book. I am a fast reader, and I usually power through if the book is not that great. For this particular book, I could not finish. The story skipped around so much (which, if done well, I don't mind at all), the character development was shallow and choppy...and finally at almost halfway through, I put it down for good. I just couldn't get into it at all. I wanted to like the book, I love a strong female character and a book that makes you think, but this just could ...more
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I gave this book only two stars. I was really excited to get my hands on this book and couldn't wait to get into it. Needless to say, after dragging myself to finish this book I wasn't very pleased with it. Many times I put the book down and didn't want to finish. But its hard for me to give up on any book, I try to give everyone a fair chance.
I found that the author developed too many nonessential characters. I found even the essential characters to be so unlikeable that the book didn't keep my
Ron Charles
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you don't belong to a book club, Darin Strauss's bitter and brilliant new novel is reason enough to start one. You can always disband afterward, and in any case your discussion of More Than It Hurts You may be so heated that you'll never talk to those people again. Strauss has packed this gripping story with the whole radio dial of divisive, hot-button issues, chief among them a form of child abuse labeled Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). Identified 30 years ago by a controversial British ...more
Christina M Rau
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
Real life is complicated. I'm sure that any life involving Munchausen is uber complicated. I'm sure that any life involving medical maladies is complicated. I'm sure that racial stereotypes and trying to break racial tension is complicated. I'm sure that class on the North Shore of Long Island is complicated. I'm sure bi-racial marriages, bad marriages, fatherless families, and fathers in jail are all complicated. After reading More Than It Hurts You, a culmination of all these issues balled up ...more
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
There were elements of this book I appreciated, and others that just seemed superfluous. For example, the author goes into great detail about the appearance of a tertiary character, in a very verbose manner than doesn't really work to add to the story or move the plot along. In fact, I'm not sure that that character himself was all that necessary. In this way, I feel that there were about 50-100 extra pages that likely could have been eliminated without shortchanging the story.

On the other hand,
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Besides being a compelling read, this novel made me think about how well we can ever really know another person -- even, or especially a spouse. It also made me ponder right and wrong and how little the truth matters in relation to public opinion.

Strauss's stellar portrayal of people makes this story a standout. He had me at the first line: "Fifteen minutes before happiness left him, Josh Goldin led his summer intern by the elbow to share in the hallelujah of a Friday afternoon."

Josh is an ad sa
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the first novel by Darin Strauss that I have read and I was quite impressed with the way he captured issues of race and gender in a subtle and sensitive way. The story could have easily turned into something 'obvious' and 'in your face' like the screenplay for 'Crash' or even certain moments in 'Babel' but Strauss used pacing and tone and honesty to create a novel that is both upsetting, scary, but in the end, absolutely right on the mark. And issues of race, gender and religion are only ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Giddy Girlie
Jun 09, 2008 rated it liked it
I found this book on a clearance shelf years ago and picked it up thinking it was a biography of Chang and Eng, which it isn't. It's a novel loosely based on their life - or as much as we can know of their life, since a good deal of it wasn't recorded - including their dealings with royalty, the circuses, and the women they eventually married and had families with. It was interesting and well-researched. Just be sure not to quote any of the stories as fact. :)
Evie Rabeck
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Great idea for a plot: involving family dynamics, racism, the LI Jewish experience, Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, and more. Straus is a good writer because he makes a page turner involving characters who are all, in different ways, unlikeable. I would have scored this higher but I did feel some elements were a little farfetched and precious. However, this book will probably make a good book club read -- lots to discuss.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
What a novel this is. One of those semi-sweeping books that's unafraid to confront head-on modern American issues of race, prejudice, marriage, parenting, and how slippery the achievement of happiness can be. Strauss's pitch-perfect portrayal of the blissfully ignorant ad salesman Josh Goldin and the descent of his apparently perfect life into chaos is nothing short of incredible.
May 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Too much long-winded prose by the author, not enough action. I struggled to finish this one- the author just kept going on and on and on and on about stuff that had very little or no bearing on the story whatsoever. It's a compelling topic- a mother accused of Munchausen by Proxy- but the author really frustrated me with his long-winded details about non-important things.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absorbing story of flawed human beings trying to do what they feel to right. This was an audio book that I had to force myself to pause so as not to stay up all night listening to the story unfold.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: read a review
Shelves: reading-list-08
The topic, Munchhausen's by Proxy was of interest to me, however I couldn't really realate to any of the characters. Even the doctor was a different breed. The dreamy way some of it was written didn't hold me either so I found myself glossing over some sections.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Follows young parents & a doctor from very different backgrounds & how their lives cross when the parents are accused of an unthinkable act. Takes place on LI near where I grew up so it was fun to see some of the places I knew in print.
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
this is a very good read. this book raises questions about race, social castes, morality, ethics, and america's media driven pop-culture. Through the MSBP issue and character development, the novel challenges your stance on good/evil and right/wrong
Dec 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, dropped
Cover description was captivating... and that was it. DNF pg 78. Had potential.
Jul 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Intriguing and heartbreaking story, especially if you have children. A little verbose in places, but overall well writing and engaging.
Jessica AKA Riley
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Review on my blog--
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A real page turner, one that you just hate to put down. I read this book in two days flat.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A haunting book about the effect of Munchausen's Syndrome on a family.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Loving it so far. Darin is on my show in a couple of weeks....
Angie Fehl
2.5 Stars

Dori Goldin is at home with her infant son, Zack, when the baby starts spewing blood and vomit. She rushes him to the nearest emergency room where the child is immediately thrown into a number of tests to try to discover the source of his illness. Meanwhile, Dori's tv advertising executive husband, Josh, gets word of his son's condition and immediately rushes from work to meet his wife at the hospital. Once there, he finds himself startled to discover that Zack's attending physician is
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A very interesting topic for sure. I enjoyed most of the book, however there were several parts that were so wordy and unnecessary that I had to skim through it. I was also a bit confused by Dori's last statement. I expected a bit more with the ending. Dori is certainly a troubled soul and she makes herself quite unlikeable. Darlene is also a troubled soul, but I found myself rooting for her all along. The book definitely holds the attention as the story is quite gripping. I just couldn't get pa ...more
Josh and Dory, and their young 7 month old have a good life. Yet, Dory longs for more attention, more of Josh's full appreciation and help around the house. And she takes matters in her own hands, at Her son's expense.
The story is intriguing, yet the book drags a bit as every character and every action is detailed to such an extent that it becomes cumbersome. Good writing though and interesting metaphors.
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A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of the American Library Association's Alix Award and The National Book Critics Circle Award, the internationally-bestselling writer Darin Strauss is the author of the novels Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You, and the NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life. These have been New York Times Notable Books, Newsweek, Los Angeles Ti ...more
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