Author: Eric Manheimer
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
âI am very conflicted about this book. The author, a former medical director at Bellevue Hospital, uses twelve patients (himself included) as a touchstone to discuss his life, his career, and numerous social issues surrounding medical care. As such, each chapter is its own vignette, though themes and some of his colleagues and family make repeat appearances.
On the plus side, I was immediately engrossed by the book. I cannot explain why, as the patients and their medical ailments were not particularly unusual, and the authorâs writing is not transcendent. As the book wore on, though, I became less interested as the author became repetitive and his writing overwrought (some of the metaphors were just too much, including a passage where something -- maybe subway cars -- hung like larva). He clearly does not have a great gift for prose and could have used a heavier hand from an experienced editor.
But beyond stylistic qualms, I found it incredibly frustrating that Manheimer squandered a chance to make broader policy suggestions. Portions of the book address health care shortcomings, but he does not take the extra step to discuss potential fixes. This would have been a welcome addition, given his tenure as a doctor and his dual role as a patient. Admittedly, that is not why I picked up the book â I was looking for a medical memoir, and expected more discussion of the psychiatry practice that Bellevue is associated with. However, after Manheimer spends significant space espousing his beliefs and liberal leanings, there do not seem to be suitable conclusions made.
âWhatâs more, having started down that path, he often writes as if every reader agrees with his views and does not take the time to lay groundwork or support his ideas. With his decades of experience, extensive travel to less privileged countries, and incredible empathy for his patients, this was a wasted opportunity.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...