The Cure by Athol Dickson

Thank you, Bethany House, for sending me a review copy of Athol Dickson’s most recent novel, The Cure. I continue to be impressed with the intellectual and spiritual depth of Dickson’s writing. I added River Rising by Dickson to my list of Best Fiction Ever. The Cure is a worthy successor to that novel, although River Rising remains my favorite.

What if there were a cure for alcoholism? What if you could take one dose of a certain mixture of chemicals and herbs and be cured completely of the desire for alcohol? No more cravings ever? How would such a cure change society? What would such a cure be worth in dollars?

The Cure reminds me somewhat of a John Grisham novel: lots of intrigue, South American missionaries, fugitives, criminals, homelessness, lawyers, a large pharmaceutical company, broken, imperfect people. I give that comparison as a person who has read almost all of Grisham’s novels and admired most of them. I do think both The Cure and River Rising have a spiritual and thematic depth that is lacking in Grisham’s novels. If you know someone who likes Grisham, and you want to give him a new book in that same vein, I would suggest The Cure.

I enjoyed the story very much, read it last night and this morning, and it got me thinking. What does it take to be “cured” of a sinful addiction? First, you want something that takes the desire away, but is that enough? I’ve heard that there’s such a thing as a “dry drunk”, a person who’s still enslaved to alcoholic behaviors even though he’s not drinking alcohol. Many addictions have a physical component. However, in any addiction there is also an element of sin, of idolatry, putting the addictive substance or behavior in the place of God Almighty, so one can be freed from the substance or behavior and still be enslaved or empty. That’s why AA insists in its 12 Step program that in order to become a recovering alcoholic, a person must place his trust in a Higher Power.

Some applicable Scriptures:

Matthew 12: 43-45 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

Proverbs 26:11-12 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Romans 7:21-25 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Anyway, it’s a great book. If you read it, come back and tell me what you think. I think I’m glad that Mr. Dickson is writing books, and I’m looking forward to reading whatever he writes next.

2 thoughts on “The Cure by Athol Dickson

  1. Joy

    I love John Grisham, so I will definitely look into this one. Thanks for the review, Sherry.

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