The Cure for Modern Life

A Novel

The Cure for Modern Life

From Lisa Tucker, the critically acclaimed author of Once Upon a Day and The Song Reader, comes an extraordinary novel about the way we live now: the choices we make and the decisions we let life make for us.

Matthew and Amelia were once in love and planning to raise a family together, but a decade later, they have become professional enemies. To Amelia, who has dedicated her life to medical ethics, Matthew's job as a high-powered pharmaceutical executive has turned him into a heartless person who doesn't care about anything but money. Now they're kept in balance only by Matthew's best and oldest friend, Ben, a rising science superstar -- and Amelia's new boyfriend.

That balance begins to crumble one night when, coming home to his upscale Philadelphia loft, Matthew finds himself on a desolate bridge face-to-face with a boy screaming for help. Homeless for most of his life, ten-year-old Danny is as streetwise as he is world-weary, and his desperation to save his three-year- old sister means he will do whatever it takes to get Matthew's help. What follows is an escalating game of one-upmanship between Matthew, Amelia, and Danny, as all three players struggle to defend what is most important to them -- and are ultimately forced to reconsider what they truly want.

Dazzlingly written with a riveting story that will resonate with readers everywhere, Lisa Tucker's The Cure for Modern Life is a smart, humorous, big-hearted novel about what it means in the twenty-first century to be responsible, to care about other people, and to do the right thing.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743492805 | 
  • March 2009
List Price $26.99 (price may vary by retailer)


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Reading Group Guide

Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Though Danny is only ten years old, he's clearly wise beyond his years. His mother, Kim, says he's "closer to forty in his harsh judgments of other people." He holds himself to a standard of "knighthood," his personal code of honor and dignity. What other admirable qualities do you see in Danny? What are his flaws? What kind of person do you imagine he will grow up to be?
2. In his experience begging on the streets of Philadelphia, Danny discovers that people are more willing to give money to a child who needs train fare home than to a child who is hungry or homeless. Do you think this is most likely the case? Why do you think some people may avoid the situations that are obviously the most desperate?
3. Amelia comes from a very socially conscious background. Her whole life, she has grappled with the question, "Why do such bad things happen to innocent people?" What do you think of the logic that is offered by her philosophy class: "Bad things happen to all people. All people includes innocent people. Therefore, bad things happen to innocent people" (p.44)? How does Amelia's preoccupation with this idea color her view of the world?
4. Amelia considers herself a champion of the underdog, the ultimate truth-teller and moralist. Which instances in the book show Amelia living up to this role? When does she stray from these ideals? Would you consider her a hypocrite, and why?
5. In order to make the see more

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About the Author

Lisa Tucker
Photo Credit:

Lisa Tucker

Lisa Tucker is the bestselling author of The Promised World, The Cure for Modern Life, Once Upon a Day, Shout Down the Moon and The Song Reader. Her short work has appeared in Seventeen, Pages and The Oxford American. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.