Reprinted from The Rankin Ledger April 19, 2008
North spins a gripping tale in second novel
By Cyrus Webb
Darden North is not your typical author. In his day job, he's an obstetrician/ gynecologist at Jackson Healthcare for Women in Jackson and has delivered more babies than most people can count. But it's his work as a writer, and his second novel Points of Origin that is gaining cheers all across the country.
The book, set in Mississippi, takes us into a world that seems so unlike any that many of us know with its glitz and glamour and high-priced facades. But a second look reveals that nothing is ever as it seems, and in that view, we begin to see more of the world in which all of us live.
Take the main characters, the Foxworths. Dr. Dan Foxworth is a man who has amassed quite a name and fortune for himself and his wife and son, Sher. But like everything else in fictional Larkspur, Mississippi, things are never what they appear to be. After experiencing unimaginable tragedy and heartache, Sher Foxworth learns all too soon that the search for what is real and true begins not in what you have, but who you are.
Plastic surgery is an important factor in the story for several reasons.
Of course there is the outward appearance that is being changed, something for which Dr. Foxworth has become well-known. But it is the inner person - that which is beyond any place a scalpel can reach - that is the most distorted and in need of repair.
This is something several characters acknowledge, if only to themselves, but that becomes a brutal factor in the life of Sher Foxworth. What Sher wants is at times lost in what is expected of him. He, like so many, goes with the flow of others' hopes, becoming oblivious to the desires of his heart until he is cornered and must confront them. He has to make decisions that might displease others but will ultimately free him from the dreams of others to a world in which he finds himself most fulfilled.
The flames that grace the cover of the novel bring to mind the intentions of one antagonist in the book, but it also reminds me of the refining of the characters that we meet. Some are able to come through their trials bloodied yet stronger, while others are consumed.
North's book ultimately shows that there is not always just one action that begets a troublesome reaction. Sometimes retribution is days in the making.
It is up to us to be ready when the cost of our facade is to be paid in full.
Cyrus Webb of Brandon is president of Conversations Book Club and the Rankin County Arts Alliance. He may be reached at email@example.com.