The Cure For Modern Life
Lisa Tucker

Atria Books
Hardcover/321 pages
ISBN: 0-7434-9279-X
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"This is what the Great American Novel should be . . ."

The Cure For The Modern Life: A tale of relationships growing and changing in the corrupt, immoral modern world.

Danny accosts Matthew at just the right time. Danny ask Matthew to help him, his sick three-year-old sister, Annabelle, and his drug addict mother, but the night turns into more than any of them bargained for. Matthew wakes to find the filthy little boy adamant about staying until Annabelle gets better. Matthew’s money, watch, cell phone and credit cards disappeared with Danny’s mother. In the morning he has to fly to Japan. Matthew agrees to let Danny stay a few hours and leaves with the promise that he will send the security guard, and the police if necessary, to throw Danny and his sister out if Danny reneges on the deal.

Unable to reach his assistant Cassie while en route to Japan, Matthew finds his well-orchestrated life a shambles. His quick trip is the beginning of an eight-day trek that takes him from Japan to Jakarta to Paris and back home only to find Danny and Annabelle eating gourmet meals at his very expensive table. It isn’t enough that Matthew ex-girlfriend Amelia nearly destroyed the successful launch of a pain medication that promises to be a pharmaceutical cash cow. He finds two homeless children he was assured had gone comfortably ensconced in his home. On the other hand, Danny and Annabelle may be the answer, at least temporarily, to keeping Amelia off his back and out of his professional life for good. And the fun is just beginning.

It is difficult to write a novel about corporate America besieged by an ethical journalist bent on an ex-boyfriend’s professional destruction–while he is thrown together with a homeless addict and her children–without becoming preachy or constructing exaggerated caricatures. Lisa Tucker never falls into this trap. Without rushing the story or contriving quick solutions for the sake of a happy ending, Tucker crafts a well thought out tale full of complex and fascinating characters. They give new dimensions to the shadowy dimensions of the pharmaceutical corporation, drug addicts, and homelessness. The nature of emotions and relationships in The Cure For the Modern Life never panders to the party line. There are no real villains, except for one inept and greedy CEO. There are only people doing their best to find where they fit in a world of infinite choices.

At the heart of The Cure For the Modern Life is a man driven by his past to succeed and make a better life for himself and those he loves, and a woman, born with a silver spoon in her mouth, who sees the world as black and white, moral and immoral. What makes the story good is seeing the characters and the world through the eyes of the ten-year-old son of a drug addict who believes in chivalry and knights, helping Matthew and Amelia come to terms with the central truths of their own lives and careers. There are no easy answers and Tucker offers none.

Tucker’s writing is descriptive and filled with believable nuance and a genuine understanding of people and relationships. It is authentic, touching and sincere. This is what the Great American Novel should be and The Cure For the Modern Life definitely is.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell