Just when I was doubting my grand plan to work through the fiction section of my library from A-Z, I ran across this gem of a novel that has caused me to renew my commitment. Book Doctor is like a type of good seduction–slow and sweet that catches you by surprise when you realize that you’ve fallen head over heels. Arlette is a book doctor seemingly by accident. She dreams of writing about Jerusalem, but instead helps others fulfill their dreams of writing all sorts of books. Little gems of absurdity twinkle throughout the book as Arlette shares letters from prospective clients and by doing so mocks New Agers, the self-involved, the self-important, and the simply silly. She sleeps with Jake, who puts together film festivals while dreaming of making his own film, but has no desire to commit. Then Harbinger Singh, an Indian CPA who specializes in tax returns, asks for her services to help write a revenge novel to get back at his ex-wife for failing to love him. Through Harbinger, who sees taxes as sexy and announces himself at her door by singing rather than knocking, Arlette begins to see the world again as a writer rather than a book doctor and to think about what she actually wants to do with her life other than watching it float by.
Book Doctor is full of great vignettes and funny lines. I’m not actually certain if I fell in love with the novel itself or with Harbinger and his honest and joyful way of looking at the world. Either way, Book Doctor is an unexpected delight hiding on the shelf in the middle of the C’s.