Published in the week that President Obama’s attempt to reform American medical coverage reached its legislative climax, So Much for That spine-tinglingly dramatises the reality of falling sick in the US…. In its demonstration of the human consequences of public policy, Shriver’s novel does for medicine whatThe Jungle by Upton Sinclair did for the Chicago meat industry.
The book, though, is as much psychological as political, inspecting its characters’ attitudes to illness and death. The previously selfish Shep, for example, behaves towards Glynis in a way he considers saintly, but she rebukes him for becoming “just another service provider”. Throughout, illness convincingly mutates the behaviour of both patients and carers.