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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,220 reviews
Profile Image for Carol.
Author 7 books235 followers
January 20, 2010
Well, not really fair to rate and review your own book, is it. I liked it! Hope you do.
Profile Image for JoAnn/QuAppelle.
383 reviews20 followers
January 30, 2010
This was interesting material but I thought the book was just okay. Too many words at many points in the book, too many times when the narrator just went on and on and on....and then the ending seemed hurried.

I really got annoyed with reading, over and over, about how guilty Marie felt and also about her moping around. The dreariness of her everyday life and the too-long descriptions of her angst were just too much and did nothing to advance the story. Enough already!

I found myself getting annoyed with Marie for not being more proactive - she should have seen a counselor if she was not allowed to talk to anyone. But then again, who would she talk with? The woman had no friends, not even any close acquaintances. She was such a loner and emotionally bereft, a woman with no life other than her work. This was surprising to me because the author apparently has a very full life as a doctor and the mother of four children.

I suspected that a mistake had been made at the beginning of the surgery and wondered why someone who was as "in control" as Marie would allow another doctor to do something so important. That did not make sense to me.

There was a good plot twist at the end that I had suspected but not in its entirety.

Will I read her next book? Yes, because I think this author has a lot of potential.
Profile Image for Marialyce (on our way to Venice).
2,038 reviews709 followers
October 4, 2019
This book was fair. It was semi interesting as we learn of an anesthesiologist's world and the struggle this particular doctor goes through in order to retain her good name and find a balance in her life and family. It was a book of many misunderstandings in the life of Dr. Heaton who is accused of manslaughter in the case of a young girl she surgically treated.

There are so many twists and turns as the doctor assumes a defense/detective role in discovering the how and why of the child's death. Of course, one could see how awful being in this position would be for any doctor so the reader does sympathize with the struggles Dr Heaton goes through both mentally and emotionally.

The objection I had to the writing was that it seemed to me that every time Dr Heaton saw someone she was quickly analyzing this person for his/her aliments and diseases. It made me wonder if every time I meet a doctor, they look at me as a roving specimen filled with possible diseases and signs of a degenerative body. I did find this piece of the book both annoying and off setting.

If you enjoy medical based books and a bit of a mystery, this could be the book for you.
Profile Image for Connie Cox.
286 reviews181 followers
February 10, 2017
Review to come...good first book

This is a first novel by real life Dr. Carol Cassella and a good first novel it was. We are taken into the world of Dr. Marie Heaton, an anesthesiologist who works in the hectic, fast paced setting of a Seattle hospital. Her personal life and family life is not very exciting and she lives for the work she does. When something goes terribly wrong under her watch, she is thrown into a whirlwind of guilt, veiled accusations and legal woes and wonders if the world she thrives in will come tumbling down around her. As she comes to grips with her professional worries she also must try to deal with a fragmented relationship with her aging father. The one she never seemed to make proud.

I thought the writing was well done, the story unfolded easily and the hospital setting so very real. The fast pace of an OR was captured well, as was the fact that even though they are a place of healing, hospitals are also big business. Sad but true.

There were a few places where the narrative became a bit drawn out and repetitive for me. I enjoyed that as a thoughtful and detail oriented Dr. (think type A personality) Marie herself tries to unravel the underlying mystery in the book, the why did this happen.....and what really happened was a twist I did not see coming.

All in all a solid 3.5, moved up to a 4 as it was such a solid first novel. I will read her others as I am a sucker for a medical mystery.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews616 followers
May 6, 2014
3.6 stars!

Easy Fast read! I enjoyed this book --(it was 'good' --not GREAT). The protagonist of this story --[the anestesiologist], is a single woman who when not at the hospital spends her 'off' time at home -- --collapsed in bed filled with guilt, and anxiety. She is frightened and is losing her confident as a physician. It was her first time she "lost a child".

A large section of this book, (middle section) was somewhat annoying because while reading about this doctor wrestle with her conscience, I, as, the reader kept saying...."get some therapy" already! geeeeeeeee!!! The writing was very drawn out --too long. It almost felt like this section of the book was a doctor writing in her daily-diary. (private thoughts) --We --as the reader --had TOO much of her 'victim' whimpy-ness already. MOVE ON ---I kept thinking.

Yet-- because this book was fast reading --and I DID want to know what was coming next --- I kept reading. AND.....the story picked up for me.

A favorite part of this book was when this doctor visited her father. And ---the little suspense (who?-what?-how?)....which the 'ending' lets us know.

I've read a variety of fiction books (with medical themes) --by medical doctors.

THIS book is not my favorite. (yet--I have the next book, too, "Healer" --and plan to read it). As I say --this book was 'good'. ---

but a few other books I enjoyed better were:

"Complications" A surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" by Atul Gawande. It was EXCELLENT!!! ---actually --this was a non-fiction ...but WOW ---- its a rock-in-roll-story --like 'fiction' exciting!!!!

"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova was soooooooooooooooo good!!!!!! Its fiction ---but also much more 'real' (less 'far-fetched in plot than "Oxygen")

Two other 'wonderful' books on 'medical' themes which I really enjoyed TONS -TONS -TONS.....
1) The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
2) My Own Country by Abraham Verghese

Oh...and ANYTHING by Mary Roach. *STIFF* was FANTASTIC!!!!

As a reader ---its normal to compare these 'types' of books. Most: I enjoy them all! Oxygen, too!

I still look forward to Carol Cassella's other books!

Profile Image for Carol.
835 reviews500 followers
October 23, 2009
If you believe that author’s should write what they know you should like this book. And even if you think that’s not true, as some authors do, you’ll appreciate that Carol Wiley Cassella brings her profession as an anesthesiologist to life in the pages of her debut novel, Oxygen. As oxygen (the gas) is required for breathing, Cassella’s book is equally breathtaking. Though there is an element of mystery to the story, it is really more an exploration of the medical system and its inadequacies. It would appeal to readers who like a story that tugs your heart, makes you think, and leaves you with hope.

Dr. Marie Hinton, anesthesiologist at First Lutheran Hospital, Seattle, finds herself the plaintiff in a malpractice suit after the death of eight year old Jolene Jansen. Marie can’t believe this nightmare is happening and begins to question all that she does, the entirety of what she believes, who she is, and especially her chosen career. She revisits the operation over and over again trying to figure out what went wrong. Sounds like a fairly simple story but Cassella’s writing style makes it an emotional ride.

This is a book I will recommend to my friends and anyone else who will listen. I see Cassella has a new book coming out in July, 2010. It can’t be soon enough for me.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,521 reviews9,010 followers
December 27, 2009
Oxygen is about Dr. Marie Heaton, an established anesthesiologist at the tip of her career. Her life is consumed with putting people out of their pain and supplying them with oxygen; her entire existence revolves around her work. However her carefully constructed lifestyle falls apart when one of her patients dies on her operating table. Soon enough a malpractice suit is filed against her by a single mom who has lost her only child - also, she has to deal with her father's vision loss and their awkward, obstructed conversation after no communication for three years. This book takes place in Seattle, and also inside the stressful, unnerving hospital rooms where thousands of near-death experiences are avoided every day.

I was close to giving this book a 3/5 stars, but realized that it was probably closer to 4/5. The one thing that made me pick it up was the hook, "With the compassion of Jodi Picoult..." because I am a huge Picoult fan. Anyway, after reading the fluffy first pages I was hooked. While the first chapter may intimidate some readers it really got me interested, even though I have no clue about anything of the world of medicine.

Cassella is obviously a talented human being - English lit. at Duke, and later on graduating from medical school to practice anestheiology. Her writing exhibits her talent tremendously. While the first part of the book was a little heavy on the medical jargon overall the writing was flawless and combined both emotion and medical skill. There is no questioning the research and expertise the author has when reading this novel. The only thing I didn't particularly like about the writing on rare occasions was that it became a bit too stiff - sometimes not "compassionate" enough, like the book jacket advertises.

For the plot I would like to split it up into two parts. The first part, the trial and lawsuit, was absolutely fabulous. Engrossing and addictive the story just grabbed me and didn't let me go - the twist in the end was one of the best I've ever read and really took me for surprise without jumping the shark. However, the second part, which was her falling apart family and relationship with her dad, was a bit weak for me and I didn't enjoy the majority of it. There is one chapter dedicated to the main character's relationship with her father when she was an adolescent and during that chapter I just had to put the book down because it seemed so unrealistic.

Other than the few things listed above, Oxygen really reads not as a debut novel but as a medical thriller filled with mystery and suspense. When I first picked up the book I never thought I would say this, but I'm really looking forward to reading Cassella's sophomore effort.
Profile Image for Denise.
2,010 reviews86 followers
June 9, 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air in the medical thriller genre....., September 7, 2008

This review is from: Oxygen: A Novel (Hardcover)

I'm an RN and I love medical thrillers. For the past several years, however, it's been tough to find really good ones about something new and different. This really wasn't a "thriller" per se, but it was a novel that had a hint of mystery in it -- the goal -- to find out what caused the sudden, inexplicable death of an 8 year old girl on the operating room table during an elective procedure. (I used to work in the OR, and the details about that world I loved all came back - made me want to go back and work again!! The medical details really interested me from that professional standpoint.) The anesthesiologist, Dr. Heaton, who put the child to sleep is slapped with a malpractice accusation and it even goes further than that. My blood ran cold as Marie finds out from the hospital legal team and the lawyers just what this case is going to cost her in terms of her livelihood and her career. She has focused her entire life on her job and, other than a sometime boyfriend -- colleague and friend Joe, all she has is her sister and sister's family --she has a difficult relationship with her father -- and that's about it. As her life spins out of control, she goes to see her dad and tries to piece herself back together to face the future. The resolution of the case was interesting, although a bit predictable, and I felt a lot of sympathy for Marie - she made the choice for career over wife and/or mother, and saw how quickly relationships with those you love and those who love you become the only things that really matter once the workday is done. She loved her job and she focused all she had on being the best -- but in our society and with malpractice litigation run amok, being great might not be enough to protect a doctor.
The writing was good and the pace kept me turning the pages late into the night. I hope to see more from this author!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
489 reviews9 followers
November 22, 2009
I expected this book to be a fluff read. You know, a good book to read on a beach. Well, since it's winter here in Minnesota, maybe I should just say, a good book to curl up by the fireplace with. It was definitely much more than that. I request books from my library that I've read reviews of or heard about from friends. This one had so many requests. I've been waiting so long, I've forgotten where I heard about it.

Dr. Marie Heaton is a dedicated anesthesiologist. She loves the technical aspect of her job, yet it's her compassion that makes her an excellent physician. Jolene is a young girl under her care in the operating room for a relatively routine surgery. She's mentally retarded and the daughter of a single mother. Something goes terribly wrong during Jolene's surgery and she dies. All sharply pointing fingers of blame are aimed at Marie.
During the course of the investigation of Jolene's death, much comes out about Dr. Heaton. Her almost estranged relationship with her father is detailed as is her relationship with her friend and former lover. Dr. Heaton goes over and over every detail in an attempt to figure out just what went wrong during that surgery. While the ending wasn't surprising to me, I would imagine anyone without medical experience would miss the give away at the beginning. And, though not surprising, it was still cleverly presented.

Casella is clearly an excellent writer. She's able to convey her medical expertise, blending her technical skill with a talent for mixing words. I hope we will see much more from her.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,993 followers
February 5, 2012
Dr. Marie Heaton became a character I'll remember for awhile. A compassionate doctor who is accused of the unthinkable. She handles it well and you see both sides of the story and grieve for both. Loved this book
Profile Image for Leo.
4,390 reviews413 followers
January 2, 2021
A somewhat interesting medical fiction but not a page Turner. Felt my self kinda bored by it but the medical parts of it where good. But the plot wasn't very thrilling. An okay read
Profile Image for Michelle.
Author 12 books1,387 followers
November 28, 2009
I'm not sure how to rate this. There were parts I loved and parts that didn't do it for me. What I liked: the premise, the plot twist (also enjoyed that the twist had its OWN twist), and the tension created at the end of the book that kept me anxiously reading. What I didn't like: the B storyline (just wasn't into it and kept wanting to get back to what was happening in Seattle), too much medical jargon at the beginning that made it sterile at first, and, frankly, the protagonist. I just couldn't get my hands on her, she was very cold to me. And I realize that's sort of the point of her personality, but I was definitely rooting for her as a HUMAN (because it would absolutely suck to go through what she did) but not as a character. I didn't much care for her. Also I had a problem buying into the idea that an anesthesiologist would be held SO responsible for diagnosing (or misdiagnosing) a person's congenital heart defect or chromosomal abnormalities or other problem-since-birth. Granted, the author knows this field a million times better than I do but the anesthesiologists I have dealt with as a patient just came into the room, stuck me, and left. There was certainly no discussion of my medical history, no analysis of my current state, etc. Hell, one anesthesiologist even gave me a drug I'm allergic to. So I kept questioning that aspect of it. Of course the book twists and turns into much deeper/complex issues so eventually that didn't matter, but it did niggle at me for the first 2/3 of the book. Overall, though, an interesting and dynamic read and I think this would make an excellent book club pick.
Profile Image for Nancy.
211 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2013
I enjoyed Marie's unusual perspective on the world. She has a way of looking through people's exteriors, straight into the depths of their organs and right down to their little microscopic cells. That is a bit depressing, as she is constantly evaluating people's various degrees of corporeal decay; and also refreshingly equalizing, as gradual corporeal decay is the inevitable fate shared among all living creatures.

Profile Image for LJ.
3,159 reviews311 followers
January 7, 2009
OXYGEN (Novel/Med. Mys- Dr. Marie Heaton-Seattle-Cont) – Good
Cassella, Carol – 1st book
Simon & Schuster, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 1416556109

First Sentence: People feel so strong, so durable.

Dr. Marie Heaton is a skilled anesthesiologist. Her life is off track and her career at risk when a child dies during surgery and Marie is being sued for malpractice. Although she tries to keep working, she must work to find out exactly what happened during the operation in order to retain her career, finances and, possibly, even freedom.

It is also a time for her to deal with personal and family relationships with a fellow doctor, her sister’s family and her father.

Carol Cassella’s background as an anesthesiologist is very much in evidence. I found the information fascinating and it did add tension to the operation and hospital scenes.

While I never considered putting the book down, I kept wondering when something would start happening. The book is labeled as “a novel’ rather than a mystery. Much of the story is taken up with Marie’s personal life. It wasn’t bad but neither was it that interesting.

The investigation of what happened during the surgery was handled as a secondary story line instead, which, for me, was the more interesting thread. However, I also foresaw one of major elements in the plot very early on and found the ending abrupt. The book was a good read but a rather forgettable one.
Profile Image for Elena.
285 reviews35 followers
January 4, 2019
Oh, I had such big expectations from this book! It was painfully boring. I liked the first part (until something interesting happens), then she gets lost in words and wraps it up way too quick in the last pages. I do enjoy a medical thriller but I'm on the verge of 'I didn't like it.' :-(

"Înmormântările sunt evenimente unde bogăția, puterea și statutul social se resemnează în fața sorții care ne face pe toți egali."
January 30, 2012
It was refreshing to read a book that gets the medical facts correct. I had the error figured out from the beginning. Non-medical people probably wouldn't catch it. Even so, i only had one part right, the details at the end caught me by surprise. An engaging read.
Profile Image for Sharon.
375 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2016
Good book. The medical parts were very well written. The agony of the main character was a bit much, but the storyline was exciting and I wanted to keep reading to see how it would all turn out.
Profile Image for Paul.
101 reviews3 followers
May 23, 2021
Frightening book as an anesthesiologist. The writing improved as the book progressed. The introduction to the main character seemed a little forced to start. Thinking about reading her follow up books. Based in Seattle.
Profile Image for Carolyn Gerk.
197 reviews16 followers
August 16, 2011
Oxygen follows the story of Dr. Marie Heaton, anesthesiologist as she deals with a case in which an eight year old patient dies on the operating table.
An interesting topic, kind of felt like a slow moving Grey's Anatomy episode. The information about anesthesiology was interesting, I enjoyed heaton's reflections about the power of putting a person to sleep and holding them safely in a pain free lull during crisis. Some beautiful writing and observations are scattered throughout the novel.
However, I felt, after the death of the patient, if seemed like the story was moving very slowly for a time. perhaps this was to show to the reader the weeks upon weeks of legal paperwork, autopsy follow up and meeting after meeting, but it began to get a little dull. Heaton repeatedly reflects upon how she feels in light of the tragedy, which is, of course essential to the story, but maybe not every two pages. And maybe not so redundantly. It felt like the narrator kept repeating the same things over and over. Too much dead time in the middle.
Once the story picked up and Heaton's family story was integrated, the pace gathered speed and it finally became a fast read.
This is kind of a lacklustre review, but I feel like my brain is a bit fried today.
To summarize, good, interesting story, likeable characters, slow for a big chunk in the middle. An easy read, none the less, picks up towards the end.
Profile Image for Tj.
206 reviews8 followers
February 4, 2012
Wow, I can't believe I stuck with this one just for this one little plot twist. I should apply the same dedication to exercising and this author should keep her day job. Like, being an anesthesiologist isn't fun enough, gotta be an author too?
Profile Image for Della Tingle.
718 reviews6 followers
April 29, 2020
This first, I honestly did not like Carol Cassella's Oxygen, but that is partly my fault as I don't read book jackets prior to reading. I don't want ANYTHING to be given away. So, I struggled through wondering what the point of the book was. Then, I was pure sick over main character, Dr. Heaton, being pure sick herself due to a devastating occurrence in surgery. She is so distraught, she is dreaming of the event, and her sister tells her, "Your subconscious came up with this to justify how bad you feel" (88). I felt so sorry for Dr. Heaton. I sympathized so much with her simply because the book is told in her point of view, so I knew her heart and mind. I found myself angry with the other parties and blaming them for paining Dr. Heaton so profoundly. Towards end of the book, realities started to change or at least come forth. The pace picked up. My bitterness towards some characters lessened while my resentment towards others increased. I remained loyal to Dr. Heaton throughout. I am not wanting to give anything away, so it is hard to write. When I was finished with the book, I read about author Carol Cassella, and she, like her main character, is an anesthesiologist. Obviously, being an anesthesiologist only ensured Oxygen is factually accurate, and of course, I am stunned that a doctor also has the ability to write a novel. I feel so inadequate and lacking. :)

In every book I read, I find nuggets of wisdom or simply something to ponder. This book is no different. Marie Heaton and her father have a difficult relationship. I found myself rereading and then saving this passage about their relationship. "It is amazing how something so abnormal can gradually blur into the background of day-to-day life so thoroughly that its cruelty is no longer apparent. The best of us are capable of selecting what we will see and what we will ignore. It would be inexcusable if it had been a conscious choice" (237).

I also really took to heart this comment by Dr. Heaton, the father of main character Dr. Marie Heaton. "Some things don't ever get settled. You just make a place for them. Learn to let them sit there with you, side by side with the good" (244). This is meaningful to me as I can, from time to time, fret over past events, even from years or decades ago, and worry over them.

All in all, this is a good read, and Marie Heaton is a character I think you will love. :)
Profile Image for Casiana.
77 reviews16 followers
August 5, 2022
Cartea este scrisă de un medic anestezist și prezintă experiența pe care Marie Heaton (medic anestezist) o are după ce nu reușește să salveze viața unui copil în sala de operații. Acțiunea cărții este puțin mai complexă de atât pentru că prezintă și relațiile care se stabilesc între colegii de la un loc de muncă, precum și nelipsitul mod în care oamenii se chinuie o viață întreagă pentru a repara fisurile copilăriei.

Cartea conține câțiva termeni și câteva descrieri ale unor proceduri medicale, însă autoarea are un mare plus pentru modul în care a dozat aceste referințe; sunt suficient de multe pentru a-ți da seama că vorbește din experiență și suficient de puține pentru a nu te face să sari peste rânduri. (less)
Profile Image for Natalia UN.
209 reviews22 followers
October 31, 2020
Cartea e interesantă, dar prima parte a fost cumva mult mai captivantă. E despre medicină și empatia pe care o poate simți un doctor față de pacientul său. Are multi termeni medicali, descrieri ale proceselor fiziologice, câteodată nelalocul lor, dar în linii generale cartea mi-a plăcut.
30 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2019
A book which makes you see the other part of the coin - the one of empathy, compassion coupled with professionalism and dedication.
Profile Image for Chloe (Always Booked).
2,080 reviews129 followers
July 19, 2018
I really enjoyed this story. It gave me definite Small Great Things (Jodi picolt) mixed with Nurse Jackie vibes.
This is the story of Marie (totally don’t think that name fit the character). She’s an anesthesiologist and one day during a relatively simple surgery, an 8 year old mentally handicapped girl dies on the table. At first, the hospital, Marie and the other doctors that were in the room start gathering information and a lawyer (as a group) to be their defense in the event of a lawsuit. Slowly things change and all blame gets put on Marie. The hospital drops her from their defense, forcing her to get her own attorney, and asks her to take a leave of absence while it’s worked out. Through the autopsy it’s discovered that the girl had turners syndrome which includes a heart defect. Blame is put on Marie for missing the diagnosis of this condition and that seems strange to me. I don’t know if that’s really where liability would lie but it seems to me like that would be a doctor issue, not the anesthesiologist. Regardless that still doesn’t seem to be an answer for why she died.
On her time away from work, she goes home to Texas (book takes place in Seattle) to visit her sister and her kids as well as her dad who she’s kind of lost touch with. She’s feeling extreme guilt and questions her competency and efficacy as a doctor.
In the end, we find out that her best friend and former lover, another anesthesiologist in the hospital, has been stealing drugs and has been altering her logs to do it! He runs away, but leaves a not that explains it all and exonerates her. What’s even more, he had been fired from his previous job for suspicions of stealing drugs and the current hospital knew that and hired him anyway to increase their patient load! Marie actually did everything right, but the friend had swapped out the drug with one that was lethal to the girl with a heart condition.
Marie gets off and the book ends happily ever after.
I feel like this book ended really quick and the twist was a little random, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. I’d definitely recommend.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 6 books1,864 followers
February 2, 2012
This is a fantastically satisfying read. Within the intersecting circles of thriller, medical drama and popular fiction, Carol Cassella's confident debut emerges in vivid, three-dimensional relief. With her first-hand knowledge of the field of anesthesiology, Cassella creates an original and compelling plot: a child dies in the middle of surgery and all fingers point to the one most responsible for keeping her alive -- the anesthesiologist.

For this reader, the mystery is not in the who- that is obvious as the stage for the disaster is set. The mystery is how the truth will be revealed. The book rolls out from the child's death during a routine operation through the months it takes to mount a malpractice suit against the doctor, Marie Heaton, and the hospital, which promises to stand behind her. Cassella deftly constructs an agonizing drama as Marie lives her weeks of personal torment, waiting helplessly for attorneys and administrators to decide her fate.

Cassella writes Marie's voice so clearly- you believe how this woman moves, behaves and reacts. Her emotions and motivations ring true- you walk in her shoes, body weary from a 24 hr shift, your heart pounds with every phone call, your hands shake as Marie tears open the autopsy report that may exonerate her from the little girl's death. Secondary characters are fully-realized as well; even walk-on roles are detailed enough to pivot the mood of the narrative.

I'm always on guard with books set in my backyard, looking for the slightest detail out of whack. Cassella nails Seattle, right down to the orientation of light on a rooftop, the playground that's across the street from Queen Anne High School Condominiums, the dim, smoky interior of Larry's Bar in Pioneer Square (the book is set prior to 2006, before Seattle's ban on smoking in eating establishments and before Larry's was closed after a New Year's Eve murder). First Lutheran Hospital is so clearly Swedish Hospital. I can see its hallways and even an operating theater, where I have gained a great appreciation for the skills of anesthesiologists in recent years.

Cassella includes a family drama, involving Marie's elderly father. He lives alone in Fort Worth and his declining health has forced a critical decision point for Marie and her sister, a Houston stay-at-home mom of three. Marie's leave from the hospital allows her time to confront her father's needs and their confused relationship. It also gives her time to consider her own lonely state and the promise of love with a trusted friend.

I'm pleased to be so pleased with a novel that, if you strip it down, is a formulaic fiction. An inciting incident leads the protagonist into crisis, sub-plots introduce characters to provide protagonist with depth and backstory, a false resolution notches up the crisis, a plot twist changes the game minutes before the end. But it works. It works because Casella's characters are real and earn your empathy, it works because the subject matter is both original and to-the-moment relevant, it works because of the author's terrific sense of pacing and attention to detail. Three cheers for the home team! This is a Northwest writer I'll be keeping an eye on.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Karen.
62 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2008
My Review of Oxygen: A Novel by Carol Cassella

Carol Cassella’s mixture of mystery and medical thriller, supported by the authenticity of her many years as an anesthesiologist, results in her page turning debut book, Oxygen: A Novel. Casella’s Dr. Marie Heaton is also an anesthesiologist who is passionate and professional about her life’s work. She works at Seattle’s First Lutheran Hospital where she prides herself in the care and expertise with which she conducts her everyday life as a physician.

Starting out as a routine day, with a busy schedule that includes a pediatric case of an 8 year old, mentally challenged girl later in the afternoon, Dr. Heaton’s day suddenly turns into every doctor’s worse nightmare. What should have been a simple operation to remove a cyst on little Jolene Jansen’s back, results in tragedy and finds Marie shockingly facing a malpractice suit as she questions herself as to what went wrong.

What follows is Marie’s life falling apart as she is enveloped in legal paperwork, autopsy results, self recrimination, and the realization that people who were her supporters are quick to abandon her. Her one time lover, Dr. Joe Hillary, becomes the person she thinks she can count on to help her make it though this horror and try and save her career.

Add to this, a problem in Marie’s personal life as her aging father is becoming more dependent on others as his eyesight fails. Marie finds that the responsibility for his care suddenly comes to her even though her connection with her family in Texas has not been a close one for years. Her sister Lori, however, is busy raising a family and so Marie is left with not much of a choice as to the care of her father.

Everything in Dr. Heaton’s once precisely ordered life begins to crumble as everyone and every part of her life suddenly seems to be crashing in on her. How Carol Cassella brings the story to its climax and Marie Heaton’s life turns out, is told with the expertise of a seasoned writer. The truth of the profession and the workings of medical field are never glossed over by Casella as she gives the reader a REAL look at what goes on in this medical industry while still engaging us in a thriller that only leaves us wanting more from this wonderful new author.
Submitted by Karen Haney, August, 2008

Profile Image for Amy.
Author 1 book35 followers
May 22, 2011
Dr. Marie Heaton’s life is her work as an anesthesiologist. She has friends, but they’re comprised of colleagues who live the same hectic, work-centric life as she. Forced to take a leave of absence from her demanding job, she finds herself returning to her most important relationships – those with her family – for support and for reparation.

Oxygen is a novel about a single medical mistake with an unconscionable result. It is about a doctor who, while struggling with guilt, refuses to be crushed beneath it. This novel examines responsibility and conscience, complicated family ties and tangled romantic relationships. It is both a compelling mystery and an in-depth look into the complexities of human connections.

There's no denying a medical professional wrote this book. Cassella knows human physiology and her way around an operating room. What is refreshing, however, is that she also knows the art of word-craft. Cassella easily weaves medical terminology with finely tuned prose, crafting a book that is both intriguing and entertaining. After having just struggled to and given up on finishing another library book, it was a pleasure to find myself consuming like fire the pages of Oxygen.

My one 'criticism' of this book was that, early into it, I predicted one of the facts of the outcome. It did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the story. In fact, it made a more intriguing read as I raced toward the end to see if I had guessed correctly.
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1,429 reviews202 followers
July 3, 2023
If you believe that authors should write what they know you should like this book.

And even if you think that’s not true, as some authors do, you’ll appreciate that Carol Cassella brings her profession as an anesthesiologist to life in the pages of her debut novel, Oxygen.

There is a death on the operating table.

An investigation.

A mystery to be solved.

A twist at the end.

Will you like how the story goes? Check it out.
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