Could I Have This Dance?

By Harry Kraus, M.D.
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, 2002

Reviewed by Renette Davis

This is a combination love story, mystery, & religious book. Claire McCall has just graduated from medical school and begun her internship when she learns that her father has Huntington's Disease. She had thought that he had a drinking problem but when I read the following description of her father at her graduation, I just knew that he was going to be diagnosed with HD.

"Movement in the back of the auditorium interrupted Claire's dream. She watched as her father moved slowly down the aisle in search of his row. Her hand covered her open mouth as her father stumbled forward. Each step was practiced once or twice, then executed in a slow, deliberate slap. Della lifted her hand quickly, then lowered it as a murmur escaped the crowd.

Wally seemed lost, wobbling past his bench and down the carpeted aisle. Midway to the front, he turned and began a labored journey back, his face twitching in constant rhythmic motion. His right arm flailed forward, then returned, a swing propelled by an erratic, unseen wind.

How long had it been since she'd really seen him, studied him like this? Months? Years? It was close to a decade that Claire had avoided her father in the name of her educational pursuits. Now she gasped and felt a flush burn her cheeks. Drunk again."

After Claire sees a patient in the emergency room who has HD, she starts to wonder whether that's what her father has. When she finally finds out that he does have HD, she struggles with issues of being at-risk, such as whether to have genetic testing, her choice of career, her relationship with her fiance, etc.

What we know all along, but Claire doesn't, is that her father may not actually be her biological father. When her twin brother dies and she is looking into the cause of his death, she discovers that his blood type revealed that her father could not have been his biological father. If her father was not her twin brother's biological father, it was likely that he was not her biological father either. When she confronts her mother, her mother admits that she had had an affair.

What we don't know is that someone who pretends to be a friend of Claire's is really not a friend, which leads to a pretty scary scene toward the end of the book. The book ends on a positive note, though.

I enjoyed reading this book, although I thought the religious aspect was a little over done at times. I gave it to some friends who wanted to know more about Huntington's Disease to read, and they said it really helped them to understand the disease.

Created and maintained by Renette Davis. Send comments to Renette by clicking here.

Created: Aug. 11, 2003
Last updated: Aug. 25, 2011