The Antidote for Everything
Publisher: Berkley (February 18, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Setting – South Carolina / Amsterdam
Kindle ASIN: B07RYHMRTZ
In this whip-smart and timely novel from acclaimed author Kimmery Martin, two doctors travel a surprising path when they must choose between treating their patients and keeping their jobs.
Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.
Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers.
In The Antidote for Everything, we meet Georgia Brown, yes like the song. She is unique in her profession as a urologist which means she sees a lot of naked men and takes care of some of their very important parts. Jonah Tsukada is her best friend, a family medicine doctor and a gay man that provides care for transgender and others of the LBGTQ community. Some of his patients are Georgia’s patients as well. Jonah was disowned by his family when he came out. Georgia was raised by her father, her mother left them behind when she was just 5 years old. Her father has since passed away. Georgia and Jonah are now each other’s family.
Georgia and Jonah work at a hospital founded by a fundamentalist megachurch. That hospital has now decided to stop their doctors from providing care for their LBGTQ patients and Jonah fears he will soon be fired. All this unfolds just as Georgia is set to leave for a conference in Amsterdam.
Mid-flight there is a page for a doctor to help a passenger in distress. She reaches back to her med school training to diagnose and treat the man. Mark McInnis, an American working in Amsterdam is very grateful and offers to buy her a drink when the plane lands. She is immediately attracted to Mark and the feelings are mutual. Her time is then spent between her conference, time with Mark, and worrying about what is happening with Jonah back in the States. Rumors are flying and there is even talk of missing drugs. Georgia is pulled between her new romance and helping her best friend.
Ms. Martin has taken on a hot topic in the world today. That line between religious beliefs and a doctor’s oath to do no harm. Working at a hospital founded by a megachurch I don’t think the doctors should have been surprised by the decisions made but the author uses the actions as a vehicle to tell a great story of the lengths people will go to for their friends.
The characters Martin has created are genuine and the dialogue is snappy and true to life. Sometimes it is pretty funny too. Georgia is a strong, fiery redhead who doesn’t back down from a challenge. Mark really came to life within these pages. He understood Georgia and Jonah’s relationship and wanted to help. Jonah becomes a fan of Mark’s too.
Martin pursues a very creative plotline that I completely escaped right into. The pacing is perfect with twists that bring out a true mystery element as Gloria stands by her friend through thick and thin. The romance subplot becomes much more as the story moves forward. There were several emotional moments throughout the story. The way patients were treated first made me sad but then quickly made me angry, I felt the same for the way Jonah was treated. Again sadness and anger raised is head as more of what was actually going on was revealed.
A bonus to the book is that we traveled to Amsterdam and there was a hugely hilarious scene that truly had me laughing out loud. We also were able to do a little virtual sightseeing which is always fun.
Kimmery Martin brings all these elements together to give readers a very powerful story. Well-written and plotted the story left me thinking about how important our voices are in this world and the lengths can go to for our friends. The actions the hospital took are happening more than we know and Martin presents the issues in an entertaining way without going too far or in a preachy way. I will get a little preachy myself. Equality is something we should all want and discrimination is not okay.
The Antidote for Everything is a compelling read and I recommend it highly. I reviewed Martin’s debut novel, The Queen of Hearts in 2018 and the last line of my review was “I am excited by this author and can’t wait to see what she writes next.” Well her second novel is even better. She even has characters from that book make a cameo appearance in this one. Again, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
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Read my review of The Queen of Hearts here.
About the Author
Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor, born and raised in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. A lifelong literary nerd, she reviews books, interviews authors, and works extensively with the library foundation in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three young children.
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