A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

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THE SURGEON'S APPRENTICE

This second installment of a three-volume memoir focuses on a man’s years in medical school and his postgraduate specialty training in England and Scotland.

Case entered medical school in 1955 in Sheffield, England, a city known for its steel industry. It was the beginning of a 15-year journey that ultimately would land him in Alberta, Canada. Evidencing a remarkable ability to recall details, the author shares his classroom and clinical experiences as well as the lighter adventures of student life. Short, lively anecdotes related to youthful antics and friends and comprehensive descriptions of his multitude of residences over the years offer respite from longer sections that depict dissections and specific medical procedures, such as the first time he assisted in brain surgery. Although the portrayal of this particular incident is perhaps a bit too graphic for lay readers, it does include a surprising insider tidbit: “After a couple of hours, partway through the procedure, we stopped briefly for tea and biscuits.” Medical school was a six-year stint—“three years of preclinical studies were followed by three years of clinical study during which we learnt to apply the knowledge we had obtained to treat living patients.” And this was followed by a series of appointments to a vast spectrum of specialty departments. While Case had decided that he definitely wanted to be a surgeon, he also sought to accrue substantial experience in all of the medical disciplines in order to be prepared to practice his specialty in a rural area where a doctor had to be ready for anything. American readers, accustomed to titles such as student, intern, and resident, will likely need time to acclimate to the British terms for these positions. Surgeons, for example, held the title mister rather than doctor, a reference to their origins as barber-surgeons. Case’s genial prose, peppered with occasional 1960s- and ’70s-relevant social commentary, reveals his tender, compassionate attitude toward his patients. But it is encumbered by the author’s extensive use of medical terminology, which slows the story’s pace and makes many sections tough going for a general audience.

A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4195-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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