Ian O'Connor,
The Wrong Road Home
(Pegasus, 2016)

Ian O'Connor's The Wrong Road Home is pretty enthralling, although it suffers some on its merits.

This is a fictionalized account of a fake doctor and his successful career until he was caught by happenstance. It is supposed to be based on a true story, but I have not researched that aspect.

In any event, the first-person narrator -- NOT the author -- is the very definition of an unreliable storyteller. It is very clear any number of times that what he is telling us is either blatantly false or a narrow sliver of the truth. For me, that made it more interesting -- but it looks like most readers take this account at face value, which is naive; not every narrator is reliable, after all!

According to the narrative, even though the doctor faked his credentials, he did have a practical medical education and experience. If he is correct in his claim to be a successful doctor for 20 years, I am inclined to believe that.

However, rather than go through the training necessary -- and the hoops -- to get a legit medical license, he took shortcuts. He explains why ... but it still does not look like a sensible series of choices.

In addition, his relationship with Margaret makes her look like a classic "crazy ex" -- and people who denigrate their former partners thus are generally not telling anything like the whole truth there.

The part I found disturbing -- again, IF it is accurate -- is that his downfall was because someone seriously maimed him in an auto accident, and rather than paying, her insurance company chose to attack his character. While his character definitely deserved an accounting -- this ought not to have had an impact on the severe physical damage he suffered as a result of the accident. But then, by this time he has proven himself a sketchy narrator, so who knows? However, if insurance companies actually get away with denying payments by destroying people's characters, this is appalling.

I would not really recommend this self-serving account. However, as I said, it was a rather fascinating read.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

25 June 2016

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