Sheri's Reviews > Doc

Doc by Mary Doria Russell
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

really liked it
Read in July, 2012

I really enjoyed this book; my husband Dan did not, telling me it left him flat.

Let me start by saying that if you haven't seen the movie Tombstone (about Wyatt Earp, his bothers Virgil & Morgan, and Doc Holliday), get thee to Netflix and solve that omission. It's a fabulous movie, and Doc Holliday is probably the single best acting role in Val Kilmer's Hollywood career. When Kilmer is on screen as Doc, he steals the show from Wyatt Earp (played by Kurt Russell) and every other character in the film. The movie focuses on events in Tombstone, Arizona when the Earps, their "wives", and Holliday & his doxie Kate all end up there looking for yet another "frontier" town in which to try to make a bundle of money.

This novel, Doc, is largely set in Dodge City, Kansas, and tells the back story of Doc Holliday -- from childhood until he departs Dodge City for parts farther west. Characters include Wyatt, Morgan & James Earp, their "wives, Doc's woman Kate, and a host of others (a Chinese launderer, the "Belle" of Dodge, etc.). The entire time I was reading this book, I easily pictured Val Kilmer as Doc, and the story of Doc's life as told by Russell really comes through in Kilmer's portrayal of Doc in Tombstone. Kilmer definitely portrays the character that Russell is writing about.

Where Russell fails to deliver, and what keeps this from getting 5 stars on my rating scale, is the lack of development of the characters you would consider the "bad guys." The politicians, Bat Masterson, and rich Texas cattle rancher are all there, but Russell fails to tell you enough for you to understand their motivations, or put their actions in any real context. One or more well-portrayed "villains" would have made this a better book.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Matt Gulde I haven't noticed that author in quite a while. I loved "The Sparrow," a novel about the first jesuit mission to another planet.

Sheri I also loved The Sparrow and its sequel, Children Of God. But as Monty Python would say, now for something completely different.

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