Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Lynne Barrett

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Debra Dean

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Fiction, Novel, Women, Midwest

Date of Defense



The novel FAMILY MEDICINE follows three married women as they struggle to define themselves in Foley, South Dakota, a small town where privacy is nearly impossible.

Marcy Morrow, a queen bee, in a vulnerable moment reveals misgivings about her second pregnancy to Bridget Cunningham, the wife of Dr. Herb Cunningham and his office manager at the town’s only medical practice. Bridget's offer of off-the-books help begins a chain of secrecy into which Dr. Maka Smith, the practice’s other physician, is reluctantly pulled. Meanwhile Marcy and Bridget’s husbands run for mayor, forcing the women to reexamine their lives, ambitions, and the nature of friendship.

The use of multiple perspectives, as in Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, helps reveal motives while heightening tension. FAMILY MEDICINE’s focus on a small community, like that Jane Austen’s Emma, uncovers the rivalries, alliances, and power of gossip in a circumscribed world.



Included in

Fiction Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

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