By Courtney Castor
Phoebe Fox’s Bedside Manners is the second of four books in her series, The Breakup Doctor Series. Readers follow the – some messy and some redeemable – relationships that surround therapist Brook Ogden: “On call to help you shape up after a breakup.” It would appear that Brook is getting back on track with her practice and her own love life. She finds herself occupied between group therapy sessions, as well as, nurturing a healthy relationship with Ben (along with his dog Jake and mother Adelaide). All it takes to throw things off course again is a piece of her past, a chip on her shoulder, if you will – ex-client and one (very desperate) night rendezvous partner, Chip Santana. While trying to point her clients in the right direction relationship-wise, Brook falls off the love wagon herself as her head and her heart become caught between good guy Ben and insanely bad boy Chip. With love and support from those around her, including her too-honest best friend Sasha and her tough-love mom, Brook is reminded that not everything is as hopeless as it may seem in moments of hardship and uncertainty.
Fox creates characters whom readers can’t help but care about. We have Brook, the doctor who needs to sit herself in the patient chair every once in a while and take her own advice. Then there’s Ben, the good guy struggling with the milestones in his life while trying to take care of those around him. And let’s not forget Chip (like we ever could), the bad boy supposedly turned good. Every girl has found herself wanting to give that ex-jerk another chance, because there’s some slither of hope in her that sees a positive change in him. Even Brook’s group therapy patients take a hold of readers’ hearts as they share stories of their own failed relationships. However, this story isn’t just about one failure after the next. The struggles throughout each of these character’s lives are real. Mistakes have to be made for us to learn. Not only that, but we must have a support system behind us to clear things up through our inevitable and undeniable tears. While there are real lessons to be learned, Fox presents readers with comic relief throughout the story. The moments when Brook goes just a little too far when it comes to being a doctor by following her clients outside of the safe walls of her practice are hilarious (i.e. Just read the opening scene of Bedside Manners). Also, the bond Brook and Ben’s dog Jake form is sweet and laughable and sometimes almost scary-accurate in portraying how lovable a pet is even after he destroys your curtains or keeps you up all night snoring. Bedside Manners includes everything a healthy breakup should endure: hopelessness, undying love from a great support system, some slip-ups here and there, and the most important part – realization of self-worth.