Finding Frances- By Janice M. Van Dyke
Is there such a thing as a good death? Frances Baldwin is dying and instead of fearing the end, she welcomes death as a consequence of her terminal condition. Frances regards any marginally effective medical intervention as interfering with life’s natural process. This quality of life discussion is at the heart of author Janice Van Dyck’s family drama, Finding Frances. The novel examines the moral and ethical constraints imposed by modern medicine as a family faces end-of-life decisions. Frances asks her son, William, a medical school drop-out, to help her deal with his own lawyer brother Randy, his divorced sister Sugar, and father-in-denial Bill. William is faced with the demanding and complex task of mediating the divergent opinions of each family member and the medical establishment in an attempt to honor his mother’s desire to have a peaceful death. Finding Frances brings into focus the larger cultural, ethical, and legal issues confronting everyone today in this age of patients’ rights versus institutionalized healthcare. Janice Van Dyck confronts these difficult issues with a deft hand in bringing out the subtleties of all of the characters’ points of view. The story is a tribute to human dignity exemplified by an exceptional and inspirational woman, who in the author’s words, “…died as she lived—with dignity and occasional flashes of brilliance and hilarity.” Finding Frances is a novel based on actual events.