Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

City Colors by Zoran Milich
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Dazzle Joins the Screenwriter's Guild by Scott Bradfield
December 22, 2012 by Sophie M. White
For the Love of Books by Ronald B. Shwartz
The Free Fall of Walter Cummings by Tom Bodett
Genuine Men by Nancy Bruno
Going Back in Time by Laurel Winter
Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
Horns and Toes and In Between by Sandra Boynton
The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club
A Jolly Good Fellow by Stephen V. Masse
Lion's Pride by Debbie Jordan
Killing Time by Caleb Carr
The Mark of Zorro by Johston McCulley
Mouse's Halloween by Alan Baker
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates by Stephen King
Past Perfect Present Tense by Richard Peck
Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenborn
Private Eye by Terry Bisson
Pug Hill by Allison Pace
Queen for a Day by Albert E. Cowdrey
Red Orc's Rage by Philip José Farmer
Sea Glass by Laurence Yep
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Sheep on a Ship by Nancy E. Shaw
Sheep Take a Hike by Nancy E. Shaw
Sleepless Years by Steven Utley
Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
The Visionaries by Robert Reed
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
Whoever by Carol Emshwiller

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Pharmakon: 10/06/08

The cover of an epic often depicts the founding member of the new dynasty. Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenborn isn't an epic but it draws on some of the conventions. With that in mind, the cover shows Gray, an African Gray parrot whose unexpected appearance in the mulberry tree at the Friedrich household sets in motion a number of events that will forever change the family.

Of course the parrot isn't the family patriarch. That honor falls to William Friedrich, a psychologist who for personal reasons works in pharmaceuticals, first in R & D at Yale and later as a consultant. William's detachment from everything makes him a rather dry lead. He reminds me a bit of the doctor from The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

The novel is written in a disjointed fashion from the perspective of the youngest child, Zach Friedrich. The circumstances of his birth are as unusual as Gray's appearance. He seems like an odd choice for narrator but there's a clue perhaps in the dedication: "In Memory of J. R. Wittenborn, PhD." A quick internet search will bring up enough similarities between the real and fictional for the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.

So like "The Sleepless Years" by Steven Utley, I will give Pharmakon the benefit of the doubt. I will close by saying the writing struck me as uneven and prone to melodrama. The book had its moments, especially the connection between Jack and Zach, tragic though it is.

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis