“You have two choices.
You can keep running and hiding and blaming the world for your problems,
or you can stand up for yourself and decide to be somebody important.”
This post is dedicated to all the book lovers out there! A must have in your collection for all you bibliophiles, a whole lot of relatable content for all those in the field of medicine, and a potential invitation for all the non-readers to get into the habit of reading, this review will be all about this wonderful book by Sidney Sheldon, Nothing Lasts Forever. For those of you who find the review interesting, but can’t gather the will to read the entire book, watch the movie based on this book: Nothing Lasts Forever. But as an ardent book lover, I would recommend you guys to try reading the book, because usually a lot of the details are lost when a book is adapted into a movie.
Sidney Sheldon is well known for thrill, excitement, mystery, passionate romance, and remarkable writing that keeps you hooked throughout, and this book is as good as any. The protagonists of the story are three doctors, all female, in fact the only three females in the first-year resident doctors’ batch at the Embarcadero County Hospital, in San Francisco. The story is set in the early 1990s, and the medical world being dominated by males during that era, these three girls have the great daunting task of proving themselves to everyone else there. Dr Paige Taylor, Dr Kate Hunter (aka Kat) and Dr Betty Lou Taft (aka Honey) get acquainted to each other on their first day there, and end up living together and becoming the best of friends. The novel follows their strengths, weaknesses, heart’s desires, abilities, aspirations and fears as they start dealing with patients, learn many lessons the hard way, and come face to face with many obstacles. Every decision they take in the hospital being a matter of life or death, things soon take a turn for the worse, and they find themselves in horrific situations.
Dr Paige Taylor, the lead protagonist, was in charge of a patient named John Cronin among countless others. An old man, his cancer had metastasized and there was no hope for recovery. He was kept on life-support systems. John’s initial hatred towards Paige slowly turned to a begrudging respect and he soon started sharing with her what he felt. This book here touches upon the topic of Euthanasia, also known as Mercy Killing or Assisted Suicide. Her heart going out to John’s pleas for Euthanasia, she finally does it, she administers a fatal dose of insulin that kills him. She is later taken by surprise when she learns that the old man has left her a million dollars of inheritance. This development is not taken well by John’s family and the others, and Paige soon finds herself in a court trial, charged with the murder of John Cronin.
Dr Kat Hunter had had a harder time getting into medical school and proving herself, because she was black. She was repeatedly raped by her step-father when she was young, ran away when she got pregnant, and had never let any man touch her ever since. As a smart doctor, Ken Mallory, takes on a bet to woo Kat, she pretends to not know about it and decides to play along. Unaware that the stakes of the bet have reached dangerously high levels, she becomes gullible to his pretense that he has truly fallen in love with her and doesn’t care about the bet now. Her heart goes out to him and she finds herself falling in love with Ken, only to pay for it with her life. Ken murders her when he learns that Kat is pregnant, so as to avoid the tarnishing of his reputation.
Dr Honey Taft, being born into a family of good-looking people and over-achievers, is a shy and reserved girl as she is plain-looking and not that sharp in her studies. She has an overwhelming urge to please people, and she very soon learns that the best and easiest way to please men is to seduce them. She takes steps to make sure she excels at it, and uses it to get her way through life. She seduces her professors to get top grades in her classes, to please her parents. She is kind and affectionate, and loves taking care of people. She wanted to be a nurse, but her father forces her to be a doctor, to keep up the family name and reputation. She takes to seducing her professors to get flying grades there too, and to get glowing recommendations to get her into Embarcadero. But due to her lack of knowledge and skills, she keeps committing blunders and almost gets the hospital shut down.
In addition to their personal woes, they all were bullied by their colleagues repeatedly. They would find insults and abusive words written all over their belongings, their notes and other equipment going missing, getting false alarms and calls for treatment, made fun of, being treated as sex objects, being assigned incompetent nurses, purposely being asked to treat patients with venereal diseases, and much more. When circumstances lead these three to where they are currently, the world sees it as their inability to become good doctors. How they fight against the whole world and find their way out of this mess is a heart-wrenching tale, and by the end of it, they are sure to win our hearts.
As readers, our feeling of helplessness increases as we follow their disastrous journey. In the prologue, Paige thinks “how could everything go so wrong… so wrong…”, and we find ourselves thinking the exact same thing over and over again as we read about the developments that lead them to where they are. We learn that no matter how good anyone’s intentions can be, how strong anyone’s reasons can be, how consciously they take any decisions, things can always go wrong. Unintentionally, things will get screwed up. No amount of success, happiness, comfort and contention, stays forever, and troubles are bound to come up sooner or later.
But don’t get depressed folks. As we turn over the last page of this absolutely amazing book, we are left with a smile on our face. Because we are shown that we are strongest when being strong is the only option we have. Things will turn out well eventually. We learn a much more important lesson for life: nothing lasts forever, not even the pain.