A Questionable Cure: a fact-based fictional look into whether we're really ready for the end of cancer...
March 16, 2015
I’ve just finished reading a newly released fact-based fiction novel about a man who finds a cure for cancer – and then throws it away.
It’s disturbing and funny, informative and entertaining, heartbreaking, surprising and sobering. In his debut novel, Roger Gerald Scott calls into question much of what many of us might like to believe about the people we are, and the society we live in.
A Questionable Cure shines a light into facts about cancer, research, the medical profession, alternative medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry, which is funding research for its cure – but also profiting from its existence. He introduces us to sympathetic and complex fictional characters, allowing us to know and understand them, and places them in our present-day reality.
Protagonist Bob Johnson appears initially to be an oddball with a propensity to drink. A closer look reveals a kind man suffering from mental illness as a result of very real trauma. Fuelled by his past failures, he makes the decision to devote himself to finding a cure for cancer – even though he has no medical background, and it’s too late to save his father, a world renowned oncologist dying from pancreatic cancer.
The innocence with which Bob approaches his unconventional search to find a cure is endearing, ludicrous and highly entertaining at times. For an amateur’s journey into medicine, it’s also strangely informative, pulling us into the past, present and possible future of the group of diseases that is hitting 14 million new people a year worldwide.
As some of you know, cancer is a cause that’s close to my heart as I, like everyone else I’m sure, have been touched personally by this condition. I discuss it in my work somewhat regularly in an effort to make a difference, although much of this discussion takes place within medical journals – out of the general public’s reach.
Scott chose fiction as his means to bring this dialogue to the masses – the masses which are actually suffering, and losing loved ones to cancers every day. Jargon and bureaucratic systems often stand in the way of lay people who so desperately want to access and understand medicine. Scott makes use of a naïve Bob Johnson as an instrument to justify oversimplifying the complexity of cancer, providing readers with a rare peek into the nuts and bolts of what’s actually going on, in many cases, and challenging the way we think about it all.
While wordy in places, the storyline is refreshingly original, written with authenticity, and with bewildering revelations around every bend. Not to mention the impressive handling of American terminology and detail from Scott, who is a Brit living in Norway.
From a first-time author with no background in healthcare and whose prior writing experience consists only of songs and a handful of short stories, the level of research involved in crafting this fact-based saga and Scott’s skilful peeling back of his complex plot, characters and their relationships, are a welcome surprise.
A Questionable Cure has claimed a possibly permanent spot on my bookshelf – I’d recommend considering it for yours! Get it as an e-book at http://amzn.to/18m2i4B for $6.24 (CAD)