Prescription for disaster, novel inspired by real life
Desmond Donahue was just 5 years old when he first saw the ocean. His mother stood beside him on a desolate cliff on Ireland’s coast and told him he’d go to America one day, or “the next best place to heaven.” The Wrong Road Home by Ian A. O’Connor (Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group, 2016, $14.95) is the story of his convoluted journey.
The story is about Donahue, the second of 14 children and one of the millions of Irish poor who survived on government checks in the 1940s. Education was provided for everyone, though, and this proved to be Donahue’s salvation. After graduation, he traveled to London with a friend to find work. Starting as a cook for a construction company, he quickly advanced, eventually following his mother’s dream and going to America.
Walking into Cook County General Hospital in Chicago, Donahue had an epiphany― he knew he was going to be a doctor. His application to medical school in Ireland was accepted, but when he arrived he was informed that he could not attend. Unwilling to give up his dream, he began his life of deception. He attended lectures and participated in clinics along with the real students, acting as if he belonged there, and learned the necessary skills to become a doctor. His guile and skill at deception eventually earned him the title of doctor; practicing first in Ireland, then America. But 20 years later, after a minor accident, a diligent investigator uncovered his past, and his web of lies fell apart.
The Wrong Road Home is a novel inspired & by a true story of how one man set his integrity aside in pursuit of his dream and eventually paid a heavy price. Do the ends justify the means? Desmond Donahue would surely say no. His fascinating story is a lesson for all of us.