When things get snowy, my brain starts to wander to sunnier places where people aren’t miserably shovelling snow off their driveways. It’s hard to remember that some places get sun all year round. And that’s why I picked up Dr. Brinkley’s Tower by Robert Hough.
Dr. Brinkley’s Tower takes place in a fictional Mexican town named Corazon de la Fuente which is situated just along the border of the U.S. and Mexico. Much of the town’s misfortunes are blamed on the fact that it is on the “wrong” side of the border.
After being ravaged by mindless civil wars, Corazon is a pretty grim place. But everyone in the town has their respect, their dignity — right from the mayor to the town’s prostitutes (hilariously, they’re all named Maria). I loved this book simply because you knew the characters so well. You felt for them when things didn’t go their way. As the reader, you too become part of this town.
And along comes Dr. Brinkley, an American doctor who wants to build a radio tower in their little town. This doctor’s specialty is curing impotence by implanting goat glands. Suddenly, the town is full of opportunities. But like a famous rapper once said, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”.
As first glance, Dr. Brinkley’s Tower sounds like a pretty sad story but it’s also hilariously funny. Hough has managed to describe the misery of poverty in a “c’est la vie” manner. In that the inhabitants of this poor Mexican town make do with what they have and that’s what their children will do, and their children’s children will do.
Dr. Brinkley’s story is based on a true one but he is a relatively minor character. If anything, he’s the catalyst for what happens to the town and all its inhabitants. In the e-book bonus content, Hough writes about his love for Mexico and it definitely shows throughout the story. I also loved all the Spanish words thrown in. I had a lot of fun trying to pronounce them out loud but also had to look some up (my Spanish vocab doesn’t stretch past Ola and banos)”.
Dr. Brinkley’s Tower is a bit of a cautionary tale but with lines like “…it was often said that when you are no longer moved by the last stages of dusk in the Mexican desert, it is time to shake the hand of your maker”, it’s mostly a celebration of beautiful people and places.