An engaging account of a three-year odyssey of medicine and personal growth in the East.

A SURGEON'S ODYSSEY

In this memoir, a newly certified New York City ear, nose, and throat specialist goes to Thailand to help the underprivileged and learn about the world and himself.

As one of five sons of a divorced mother, Moss grew up in the mean streets of the Bronx with little reason to expect that he’d someday get a degree in medicine. However, after overcoming several roadblocks and changes of mind, he committed himself to long years of medical study. Even after achieving his goal of becoming an otolaryngological surgeon, he was faced with an agonizing choice—set up a practice and start making good money or travel to a less-developed country and assist those in desperate need. Urged on by his interest in Eastern religion and a timely fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant (“Do not forsake your dreams for material security”), he took a job at a clinic in northern Thailand. Young and inexperienced, he dealt with horrific cancers and infections and an overwhelming lack of resources. However, he was deeply impressed with his colleagues’ resourcefulness and his patients’ calm acceptance of their conditions. He also fell in love with the leisurely pace of Thailand, where people walked more slowly than they did in New York. As he continued his practice in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, Richard learned from his patients, other native people, and expatriates, and he even unexpectedly got married along the way. Overall, Moss (Matilda’s Triumph, 2013, etc.) has constructed a moving and persuasive memoir that will draw the reader in from the very first chapter. By interspersing italicized flashbacks of his early life among his evolving experiences in foreign lands, he adds texture and depth to both storylines. His portraits of the people he meets, his chronicle of his spiritual development, and his anecdotes about occasional culture clashes are all vivid and compelling. Some of the clinical and surgical scenes are grisly, but many also have the urgency and drama of an episode of ER—if not the pat, happy ending that such fiction often provides.

An engaging account of a three-year odyssey of medicine and personal growth in the East.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4808-5951-7

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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