Pre­scrip­tion for dis­as­ter, novel in­spired by real life

RSWLiving - - Department­s - BY DOUG GALLOGLY Doug Gallogly lives with his wife, Jackie, in Fort My­ers.

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.

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