St. Martin's, Aug 2003, 12.95, 280 pp.
Life is collapsing for Los Angeles screenwriter Martin Dorfman. In his mind the end of days have arrived as the signs are obvious since film producers ignore his efforts and his agent refuses to answer his calls or return them. He feels like death as a mysterious disease attacks his body; neither his doctor, other physicians, an herbalist nor a New Age "chiropractic allergist" can identify the illness let alone cure it. After paying out thousands of bucks his mentally aching spouse thinks Martin is a hypochondriac and suggests he visit a psychiatrist.
Martin agrees to try her more radical solution to his physical woes by seeing a psychiatrist. The shrink's diagnosis is that Martin suffers from screenwriter neuroses bordering on psychosis. If he wants to be cured he must find new employment. Psychosomatic illnesses may cause pain, but not as much as not writing scripts even if rejection seems the norm right now.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH DORFMAN is an intelligent very amusing tale starring an intriguing protagonist whose one-liners would make the novel fun to read, but also provides a serious undertone that catalogues the book as a not to miss tale. The support cast adds jocular “sincerity” as they stereotype their treatment of Dorfman. The tale cleverly reflects on inheriting ancestral mental baggage such as Dorfman knows he has all types of diseases because his father the doctor described the symptoms to him when he was a child. Fans of an amusing look at childhood environmental impact on the adult will appreciate WHAT'S WRONG WITH DORFMAN. One warning: don't run to see your doctor because what Dorman has is contagiously funny.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner
A burned-out screenwriter wakes up one morning with a mysterious disease. His doctors are stumped so our hero goes on an inane odyssey to find a cure. On this journey he learns a lot about himself and his family. This is primarily a character-driven novel.
This report prepared by Jack Tynan