Josh Goldin was savoring a Friday afternoon break in the coffee room, harmlessly flirting with coworkers while anticipating the weekend at home where his wife, Dori, waited with their eight-month-old son, Zack. And then Josh's secretary rushed in, using words like intensive care, lost consciousness, blood. . . .
That morning, Dori had walked into the emergency room with her son in severe distress. Enter Dr. Darlene Stokes: an African-American physician and single mother whose life is dedicated both to her own son and navigating the tricky maze of modern-day medicine. But something about Dori stirred the doctor's suspicions. Darlene had heard of the sensational diagnosis of Munchausen by Proxy, where a mother intentionally harms her baby, but had never come upon a case of it before. It was rarely diagnosed and extraordinarily controversial. Could it possibly have happened here?
As their four lives intersect with dramatic consequences, Darlene, Dori, and Josh are pushed to their breaking points as they confront the nightmare that has become their new reality. Darin Strauss's extraordinary novel is set in a world turned upside down - where doctors try to save babies from their parents, police use the law to tear families apart, and the people you know the best end up surprising you the most.
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"The stereotypes are intentionally heavy-handed ... But the heart of the story - the unraveling of Josh's life and the steady erosion of his faith that ignorance can be a virtue and happiness a choice - is riveting." - Publishers Weekly.
"The narrative switches from medical to psychological to courtroom drama as each character is gradually forced to face his or her own reality. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.
"This unpleasant medical mystery cum courtroom drama cum mother-from-hell novel relies on a flat third-person narrator who reports events rather than animating them." - Kirkus Reviews.
"This book is harrowing, hurtling, heartbreaking andmore than anything devastatingly accurate. Darin Strauss (a novelist whose talents sometimes seem limitless to me) has created characters whose complexities and dark motivationsthough they are always hidden from each other, and even sometimes from themselvesare never hidden from their author. This is a brilliant, sharp, suspenseful novel, impossible to turn your gaze from." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.
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Darin Strauss was born in Long Island and attended Tufts University.
His first novel, Chang & Eng (2000) was the runner-up for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Literary Lions Award, a Borders Award winner. His second book, The Real McCoy (2002), was named New York Times Notable Book.
His most recent work is Half a Life(2010), which won 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award.
He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and kids. He teaches writing at New York University.
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