Allison Winn Scotch The Department of Lost & Found Reviews

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“The Department of Lost and Found ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 28/04/2007

The Department of Lost and Found
Allison Winn Scotch
Morrow, May 2007, $23.95
ISBN: 0061161411

Thirty years old senior aid to Senator Dupris of NY, Natalie Miller learns she has breast cancer. Not long after the horrifying diagnosis, her unassuming boyfriend Ned dumps her when she most needs him to comfort her. Worse the workaholic has to take a leave of absence from her high powered job six weeks before the election as the chemotherapy she begins requires plenty of rest with no stress.

In her diary she begins to keep she writes mostly gloom and doom entries as only the Price is Right cheers her up although she admits to herself under other circumstances she would not mind seeing her kindhearted gynecologist Zach; when Nat deeply muses re Zach she knows she would never have met him under any other circumstance. As she struggles with chemotherapy and ultimately a mastectomy, a former lover rock musician Jake returns into her life to help her, but she wants Zach though she fears he will see that as gratitude even if she believes he desires her too. As Nat heals, Sally her friend and a reporter uncovers a monster scandal that will hurt Dupris just when Natalie must decide whether to return to her and politics.

This fascinating character study contains one full blooded protagonist and a bunch of cardboard cutouts whose existence only relates to the lead character. When the insightful story line focuses on Natalie's bout with cancer the plot cuts deep into her heart and soul so that the audience understands her fears of dying young and her feelings that she accomplished nothing so far in her life (reminiscent of Margaret Edson's classic WIT). When she looks back (impassive diary form) to the loves of her life, she realizes the common theme of why they always ended was due to her ambition superseding her love. Fans of powerful poignant drama (except for the "required" ending) will enjoy this often humorous discerning look at a cancer survivor.

Harriet Klausner

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