3 out of 4 stars
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In The Watchmaker’s Doctor by G.M.T. Schuilling, we meet Anaya, a thirty-five year old woman who is battling the highs and lows of her self-medicated Bipolar disorder, as well as her demanding medical career, which she feels like she began too late in life. When one of her patients gives Anaya a mysterious watch, she doesn’t have time to really process the gift before she is given a choice: go back in time and change her life choices or die.
I rated this book 3 out of 4 stars, because there were some cons which made it just good, and not amazing. The story needed a lot more character building. At the end of the book, I still didn’t have a clear picture in my mind as to what any of the characters looked like, except for their eye color. Also, Anaya’s inner dialogue and thoughts were not realistic, we don’t talk to ourselves in perfect insightful quotes and thought out sentences, at least I know I don’t.
I disliked how Schuilling felt the need to point out metaphors and personifications to us. For example: “Greg had become the personification of all she hated about time.” That sentence would’ve had the same effect if it was written without the word “personification” in it. Schuilling did the same in a few other instances with metaphors as well, by writing the word “metaphor” inside the sentence, which essentially went against the “show, don’t tell” premise of story writing.
Lastly, I disliked the forcefully inserted quotes from other authors or famous thinkers. For example: “Then his voice deepened as if he were reciting. ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ I can’t take the credit for that, though. That was all Mahatma Gandhi.” There are smoother ways to quote others in a book.
Overall, the book was very well edited, and I was not able to find any typos or errors. This was an entertaining story, and Schuilling inserted humor in all the right places. The conversations between Anaya and her mother Patience, who we are told is really not very patient at all, were very enjoyable and accurately portrayed a healthy mother-daughter relationship. The playful banter and dialogue between Anaya and her dad were endearing, and the way they made light out of their shared situation was heartwarming.
The book encouraged young people to seek help and advice when they need it, and to not fumble through life’s murky situations on their own. I liked how the story inspired readers to follow their dreams, and to enjoy life to the fullest. The author also pushed those with Bipolar disorder to seek treatment and therapy in order to manage it.
The story contained great descriptive scenery. Schuilling had a way of making buildings and inanimate objects come alive. From the local bar where she was “fully expecting to feel her skin sticking to layers of spilt alcohol that had seeped in over the years,” to the barn where, “Anaya inhaled the rich scent of soil, along with the sharp citric smell of thriving vegetation and the sweetness of fresh dew.” Every scene was described in painstakingly thought out prose.
I would recommend this book for those looking for a fast-paced entertaining read. Also, anyone who suffers from Bipolar disorder, or has a family member who does, should read this book. There was some sexual content, but it was not very explicit. The fact that I had no idea how Anaya’s new decisions would shape her second chance at life was a great motivator to keep me engaged and reading until the end.
The Watchmaker’s Doctor
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