Mira, Mar 2002, 6.99, 384 pp.
When she was Jane Domschke growing up in impoverished Sunnyside, she had one goal and that was to get out of the wrong side of town. Jane succeeds by marrying into a wealthy family. She and her spouse David have one child, Brynn away at school, and Jane becomes a five million-dollar realtor. Her world seems perfect though her husband cheats and her daughter disrespects her whenever they talk.
Everything changes for Jane when an 18-wheeler tanker crosses the median of the highway and crashes into her car. Jane, trapped with smoke and gas all around her, prays to God that if she is rescued she swears that she will do good things from now on. Septuagenarian Chester Durbin unexplainably saves Jane's life. Jane makes efforts to do good deeds, but learns that good is in the eye of the beholder and that her intentions rarely pan out as expected. Still even with David leaving her and Brynn fleeing with her therapist for Europe, Jane rehabilitates herself with the help of Scott Robbins born on her side of the tracks.
DOING GOOD is an engaging contemporary morality tale that the audience will relish because of the complexity of the world that Jane is just beginning to explore. The story line shows how difficult and complicated society is as Jane's attempts to perform good deeds often go astray ending with questionable results. This includes the seemingly simple, symbolic and innocent act of giving Snickers to Chester. DOING GOOD is a great tale that deserves wide reading as Pamela Morsi demonstrates that sound bytes or even hard work do not necessarily solve social issues.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner