Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blogging the book: "He did this to me"

This is a continuation of my thoughts and ramblings as I read "The Doctor's Daughter: Journey to Justice." First blog post and links to the Shopper-News interview with Belle are here.

"He did this to me."

Brian Seaver is dead. Poignant scene.

Piqued my curiosity, though. When he stumbles out to Kate, his exact words are quoted above. "He did this to me." What does that mean, exactly? Murder? Suicide? Murder made to look like a suicide? Time will tell.

Poignant are the pages just before Mr. Seaver's demise. He gives Kate good advice:

"Never marry a man unless you can sit with him reading a book and feel perfectly comfortable."

That is true for both sexes, for any bibliophile.

"One more thing," he tells her. "Don't marry a man unless he can make you laugh. Life just presents so many things where the only option is to laugh or cry. Laughing is the better option."

Works for either gender. There is much wisdom, here and elsewhere, amid the hilarity and tragedy.

Poignant, too, is the moment Kate burns her blood-spattered dress. 

I have gone through stages of sentimentality over the mid-19th century. Belle Blackburn's book is a gentle reminder of the harshness of everyday life. Forget the medical practices and the looming horror of war. A good day often meant that the streets of Nashville weren't muddy. Taking a hot bath was a major undertaking. Here in the present, all we usually have to do is turn a faucet.

Whenever one gets nostalgic or mawkish about the past, perhaps it's best to remember a lyric from Billy Joel:

"The good ol' days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

Or read a book like "The Doctor's Daughter." It's a nice, refreshing slap in the face in that regard.

Almost forgot to tell you: I loved the hog slaughter. Call me crazy. (Did anybody ever see "The Lolly-Madonna War"? But, that's another story for another day.)

Can't wait to keep going. Kate's (and my) journey continues.

"The Doctor's Daughter: Journey to Justice" by Belle Blackburn is available for digital download and in paperback at 


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