Monday, October 31, 2011

Pharmacology-Christopher Hertz


Christopher Hertz

AmazonEncore, Dec 62011, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612181387

In the early 1990s, Sarah Striker is leaving Kansas City, Missouri to attend school in San Francisco. However, before leaving home, over grilled cheese her beloved dad informs her he has cancer, but insists she go. She promises to send home money to help pay for her father’s medical treatment.

In San Francisco, Sarah rooms with six people and obtains work at the Horseshoe CafĂ©. She makes money selling weed to her sibling bosses, which Sarah sends home so her dad can undergo radical medical treatment. Sarah publishes the Luddite issues which leads to a high paying gig for a pharmaceutical firm peddling its attention deficit disorder elixir through a blog. However, as she begins to learn the side effects of the miracle drug, Sarah’s ethics and her father’s expensive treatment place her in an uncomfortable position even as she alleviates some of her guilt with a zine exposĂ©.

Pharmacology is an entertaining character study that captures the essences of the early states of the internet information (and misinformation and disinformation) of the Clinton first term. The support cast in San Francisco and the protagonist’s parents enhance a look at the era and at Sarah. However, the heroine makes the tale work as she confronts her conflicting values.

Harriet Klausner

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