Book Has Meaty Message, Cheesy Delivery

Published January 1, 2008

Noble Vision
by Gen LaGreca
Chicago: Winged Victory Press, 2005
338 pages, hardcover, ISBN 0-9744579-8-1, $27.95

Noble Vision, by Gen LaGreca, is a novel set in New York State, centering on a talented neurosurgeon and his struggle to restore the sight of a gifted ballerina who has been injured in an accident.

The surgeon has developed a breakthrough procedure that could cure the dancer, but the state government has sole oversight of residents’ health care, and forbids the use of the new treatment. New treatments are expensive, after all.

The book’s message, chiefly that socialized medicine brings disastrous results, is spot on. Everything else about the book, from the jacket to the dialogue, is, well … cheesy.

Meat and Cheese

The book effectively highlights the pitfalls of socialized medicine. Rationing and long waits are commonplace. Many of the best providers of health care products and services leave the market voluntarily because they’re unable to make a profit in the socialized system. Others are driven from the market for political reasons.

Scientific advancement is slowed almost to a halt. Doctors’ judgment is replaced by bureaucrats’ whims. In an effort to guarantee everyone gets equal treatment, everyone is made equally miserable.

Unfortunately, these meaty truths are presented in an awfully cheesy fashion. The book jacket unintentionally warns us of what’s to come–you get the feeling the illustrator was told to draw a picture of a soap opera–very romantic, very dramatic. The narrative is melodramatic, and the dialogue is awkward, making it hard to get involved in the story and distracting from the book’s message.

Dual Disasters

It’s difficult to take a book seriously after reading passages such as this: “Meeting the BOM’s research committee, however, was another matter. It was a foreign substance in the fabric of his life. It, too, pretended to be benign–but was it? How could he keep it from arresting his vital functions?”

The book is also somewhat clichéd–borrowing especially from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Women other than the heroine tend to be lazy, conniving, and materialistic; bureaucrats are pure evil with no redeeming human qualities; and if your wife is a pain in the neck, sometimes it’s OK to cheat on her with the novel’s heroine.

Noble Vision‘s message is anything but fiction, though. Socialized medicine is disastrous for health care. It’s as bad a way of doing medicine as Noble Vision is of doing fiction.

William Snyder ([email protected]) is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.