Review: Doc by Mary Doria Russell


Title: Doc

Author: Mary Doria Russell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Warning: Talk of grave chronic illness, violence and prostitution


Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health.

Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City.

And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins— before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety

I don’t know that I can properly elaborate on how much I freaking love this book. I just…I hate to say it but I just can’t.

Now that that’s out of the way I will try to get myself together and review this book in a more thought out way.

This book in a way is a love letter to Doc Holliday and one of the most sympathetic views I’ve read in regards to his character. It is so well written, and he is so present in the book, with such heart, and wit along with Wyatt and Morgan Earp that I felt almost privileged for the opportunity to read such a book.

While some people might have called the writing slow, I loved the slow meander through Doc’s earliest years, before the OK Corral, learning about his developing illness with great sadness, watching the developing friendship with Morgan and Wyatt while filled with happiness.

This book is human in its intensity, filled with raw emotion, and the saddest and happiest moments people can experience. It is about struggle, fear and hope.

Some of my favourite quotes:

The wonder is how long and how well he fought his destiny. He was meant to die at birth. The Fates pursued him from the day he first drew breath, howling for his delayed demise.


There is always something else—something uncontrollable—at work in every hand. The most cold-blooded card counter knows that, though he might not name it luck.


“They break my heart, these girls. They are so brave. Wyatt, you have to admire their nerve, at least! They go off alone into alleys and small rooms with violent, dangerous, lustful men twice their own size…”

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