This story is written in 3rd-person POV and tells of a psychiatrist who has taken a job in an underserved area with the agreement that a government program will pay for his medical school debt. He’s always wanted to be a good doctor who listens and gives his patients time to talk. He’s had to drive 2 ½ hours to a woman’s home because she hasn’t been seen in some time with her prescriptions just being routinely refilled over the phone, time and time again. Frank arrives and listens to the woman’s story and tries to convince her to come to the office once a month and he’ll drive to her place once a month. However, she is not interested and does not ever want to see him again. Her story, her resilience and Frank’s humanity will make you cry as well as worry about the other two children in the family. Will they survive childhood? What kind of adults will they be? Will they escape the small town troubles?
As far as I can tell, “The Good Doctor” was first published in Haslett’s collection, You Are Not a Stranger Here. This collection was a National Book Award Finalist as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. And, it’s his debut collection. So far, with the first two stories, I’m blown away.