(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Erich Segal, who seemingly captured the heart and soul of the “silent generation” who came of age in the 1950’s with his first novel, LOVE STORY, continues to mine the collective psyche of his contemporaries. THE CLASS scrutinized the lives and loves of five members of a Harvard University class until their twenty-fifth reunion. DOCTORS utilizes the same literary structure as THE CLASS, but focuses on the training and professional experiences of five graduates of the prestigious Harvard Medical School.

All the expected stereotypes are represented in this vivid portrait of the medical profession which combines creative biography with social history in a manner reminiscent of the work of John Dos Passos--although without the ideological aspects. Thus, the reader is introduced to the talented but obsessive woman attempting to excel in a domain still dominated by men, to the dedicated, caring former athlete existing on a financial shoestring, to the brilliant black who must surmount the twin prejudices of race and wealth, to the duplicitous researcher given to situational ethics, and to the exceptionally stable but nerdish middle-class genius with a heart of gold. DOCTORS is also populated with its fair share of villains determined to thwart the characters’ pursuit of professional achievement and personal happiness.

Still, while Segal is not unaware of the gruesome reality of malpractice, nor of the venality of some physicians, DOCTORS is anything but another hatchet job about the medical profession. It is an admirable attempt to examine all aspects of a particular profession. Moreover, in his acknowledgments, Segal provides bibliographic information to those who wish to pursue topics arising in the novel. DOCTORS is a novel about what is, in the best of circumstances, a caring profession, and his readers are compelled to become concerned about the welfare of his characters.