Marc was a troubled young man who had not been able to find his way in life, successfully, since he’d dropped out of College a few years earlier. After a failed suicide attempt, he is introduced to his new social worker/therapist, Lauren at the hospital he was taken to. In Social Work by Thomas Duffy, Marc tries to come to terms, with Lauren’s assistance, with what is good for him and his ongoing mental health if he is to become a happy, functioning member of society again. For Lauren, who is looking to the future, herself and looking for a man to make her life with, Marc represents what should be one of her “success stories”. She sees much potential in Marc and wants the very best for him, even to the point of having feelings for her patient that she knows are ethically wrong and would be frowned on by her superiors. Together, they both must plot the best course in life for both of them knowing always there are many pitfalls along the way.
I liked the basic premise of Social Work and felt author Thomas Duffy did a very good job of opening up to the reader the plethora of problems, questions and priorities that life throws up to all of us from time to time. I particularly enjoyed the development of Marc, as a character and the fact that despite the knockbacks and self-doubts he was still prepared to push forward and discover his destiny. At times the dialogue felt stilted and unrealistic and many of the scenes were under-developed in my opinion. This was a good story that had so much more potential and could have run for a couple more hundred pages very easily. That being said, it was still a satisfying read and covered many of the issues of mental health and the lack of acceptance of those with mental health issues that need to be aired and talked about more often. This was a pleasant enough read but I felt it lacked the scope the topic could well have been given with a bit more space and depth.