I'm intrigued by the idea of doctors who write, especially GPs as I
work with them and I've seen their writing,computers have been a
godsend let's say.But they are also capable of bringing something quite
unique to their writing, there is n'owt so queer as folk and GP's have
a steady procession of narrative plots walking in the door all day
long. Add in an ability to extract some of the emotional turmoil of
people's lives witnessed first hand and the most accurate medical
detail you could wish for and you have a
recipe prescription for some great reading.
I wasn't disappointed with The Face by Phil Whitaker.Phil is a GP in Somerset but also an accomplished writer and past winner of The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was also shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award.
I'll own up that my heart sank when I realised The Face was a novel about child abuse.As a health visitor you live and breath child protection all day every day and, especially once you've been subpoeaned to go to court and give evidence, it has all been so real in people's lives you don't particularly want to read fictional accounts in your leisure time.I've read recently that we stand accused as a profession of talking up the importance of our role with child abuse to protect our jobs.I can't even bring myself to make a comment on that.
All that considered, this book was going to have to work very hard to impress me and keep me reading and I'm delighted to say it did.Phil Whitaker has taken the whole subject and approached it from a very unique and different angle.
As a retired detective dies mysteriously in a road accident his daughter decides to unravel the circumstances of his life with very surprising and unexpected results.Key to her understanding is Declan a police artist whose narrative weaves through the book gradually building up the story of guilt and betrayal that is revealed.
As you might expect accurate medical and emotional detail add credence to this gripping read, a book I'm pleased to have read for it's unusual angle on a much-written about subject.I always insist to myself that any writer tackling this subject must be a safe pair of hands for the reader and Phil Whitaker is certainly that.
I haven't finished Phil's latest book yet Freak of Nature but prepare for something completely different but no less challenging as he takes as his subject matter conjoined twins, one of whom is married and has a child. This is one remarkable book, the man is wasted stuck in a consulting room with an imagination like this but I bet his patients love him.