Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review - Doc

Title: Doc
Author: Mary Doria Russell
Publisher: Random House, Pgs 416
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover / Audio
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library

When you pick up Doc, if you are looking for a rehashing of the dramatized gunfight at the OK Corral then you will be disappointed. If you are looking for an interesting tale of the man behind the legend then Doc will be a pleasant surprise. Ms. Russell takes the reader behind the scenes, back to the young man that loved music and literature. A man that was on the quiet side, but was never completely unarmed. A man that could not abide a bully and cared for those that had less than he did and held friendships and honesty above all else.

John Henry “Doc” Holliday began dying before he did too much living. By the age of twenty-two tuberculosis was slowly killing him and no matter where he went or what he did, it was there as a constant reminder that life was short and he had better get to the good parts soon.

Leaving Georgia for both his health and the chance to start up a much needed dentistry practice, Doc lands in the Kansas frontier where his chance meeting with the Earp Brothers is what apparent legends are made of.

John Henry surrounds himself with a cadre of interesting people. From Jesuits to whores to politicians to stable hands, Holliday values his friends more than life itself so when he is called into action, he steps up, even if that means death will not be too far behind.

Many will not like where this book ended. Most people like their stories to end where legend and folklore have taken them before. That is not going to happen in this book, this is not a story of a gunfight, it is a story of a man trying to live his life the best way he can. Born and raised a southern gentleman, forced to live a hardened life with illness and debt, Doc was a man that did the best he could with what was given.

Slated to be made into an HBO series, I like what Ms. Russell did with the story, bringing a fictionalized legend into the mainstream by showing the man behind the hype. I will never know what parts are facts and what parts are fiction, but I liked the overall picture that was drawn for me.

Per the authors website, she is currently writing "The Cure for Anger," a sequel to "Doc." Wonder if this will take up where Doc ends and Big Nose Kate left off.

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