Lionel Shriver has never shied away from tackling topical issues in her fiction; a previous novel, We Need to Talk about Kevin
, was heralded as a provocative fictional examination of school shooters and their potential genesis from within "good" but sterile families. In So Much for That
, her tenth novel, Shriver addresses the all important topic of the state of health care and health insurance in America.
At the center of Shriver's novel are the Knackers, whose investment accounts are being consumed at a truly frightening rate, as Glynis's terminal cancer and Shep's father's relocation to a private nursing home insatiably devour the family's finances. The Knackers are not the only characters for whom a drastic diagnosis requires a radically different view of the future. Their best friends, Carol and Jackson Burdina, have long felt the burden of being tied...
Beyond the Book
Two devastating diseases precipitate the health care crises of So Much for That
. Glynis develops mesothelioma
, a type of invasive cancer that is associated with exposure to asbestos. This type of cancer typically starts in the lungs but can affect the entire mesothelium - the tissue that lines many internal organs. Not only is mesothelioma notoriously difficult to treat, it's also hard to pinpoint its exact cause, since its onset typically happens 30 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. In Shriver's novel, Glynis, an artist who works with metal, was exposed to the hazardous substance in the studio as an art student, although she initially blames her husband Shep for introducing the toxin through his work in the home construction and repair industries....