We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of my all-time favourite books and although I was less impressed with The Post-Birthday World I still found it to be an enjoyable read. I was excited to discover that Lionel Shriver had a new book out and was lucky enough to win a proof copy of the book via a competition on Twitter.
So Much For That is a novel that takes a close look at the American healthcare system. The book follows Shep, a handyman from New York, who sells his business for $1 million. He is looking forward to a comfortable retirement, preferably on a remote island off the cost of Tanzania. Unfortunately he discovers that his wife has cancer and so the plans are put to one side while she receives treatment. When the bills for her medical care start to appear Shep suddenly discovers that his retirement nest egg isn’t going to stretch very far.
Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of this book – it felt like one long rant about the state of the US healthcare system.
The book was packed with facts and figures about various clauses within the system and the way Shep just happened to have friends with different medical problems (perfect for showing other ways in which the healthcare system was failing) just made me cringe – it was all so contrived.
The whole tone of the book felt depressing and defeatist and I struggled to make it to the end. Lionel Shriver makes a fantastic argument for reforming the US healthcare system, but I’m afraid that in the UK she will mainly be preaching to the converted. I’m sure this book will have much more relevance in America and probably cause some controversy, but as a UK reader I found discussing the small print of insurance policies very dull.
I look forward to seeing how this book is received in America, but I think readers outside the US will be disappointed.
Are you planning to read this book?
Have you read any of her earlier books?