Theme Of Choices And Regret In The Watchmaker's Doctor By G. M. T. Schuilling

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Anaya, known as Ana to her friends, is leading a regretful and unhappy life. Until one day, when she is unexpectedly confronted with an opportunity to fix her biggest regret in life. The Watchmaker’s Doctor by G. M. T. Schuilling asks – can changing one regret and living a more mindful life transform your future? Speaking as a woman in her thirties, a lot of the ideas and themes in the book connected with me. I wrote down this quote after I read it, because it resonated with me strongly: ‘Life was a series of battles, each one with an unidentified foe. The war could only possibly be won in your mid-thirties when you discovered what you were made of.’ This book does a great job of reminding the reader how much people change over the course of their lives and encourages the reader to think back on their own life.

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In my opinion, time travel is one of the most interesting plot devices when used well – and Schuilling uses it well! I liked how thought out the restraints on future knowledge the author used were. I also appreciated how much we see Ana struggling with which choices to make and what to try to change. I was intensely happy with the depiction of Ana’s condition (she has bipolar II) and the focus on the correct medication and therapy to treat her. Not just that, but the author showed that medication often takes a few tries and over several years a patient might have to try several different combinations to find the right one. So often in media patients are given a magic pill and then are all better, which is usually not the case in real life.

However, I did find the beginning of the book awkward to read. It took me some time to actually get into the book. If you have this issue as well, push through! The themes of dealing with regret and being more thoughtful about the choices we make, the way we live our lives, and how we should pay attention to the people in our lives more really hit home with me and I think many people will feel the same way. If you enjoy different takes on the time travel trope, realistic portrayals of women, and movies like It’s A Wonderful Life or Thirteen Going on Thirty, you will enjoy this book. If you need your books to have a driven plot or dislike it when books have jumps in time, I would not recommend this book for you. I rate this novella four out of four stars. I immensely enjoyed it, became invested in the characters and the plot line, and am off to find the sequel!

14 May 2021

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