The book reveals a troubling situation, but unfortunately it’s a tedious read.

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CORONARY

A TRUE STORY OF MEDICINE GONE AWRY

A dogged attempt to shed light on the troubling nexus between money and medicine through the story of two doctors in Redding, Calif., who generated enormous fees for themselves and for the Redding Medical Center by performing highly questionable procedures.

Journalist Klaidman, whose Saving the Heart (2000) looked at advances in fighting coronary disease, was not able to interview either cardiologist Chae Hyun Moon or cardiac surgeon Fidel Realyvasquez, the two doctors in question, but did talk to many of their patients, as well as nurses, technicians and other doctors, and he had access to extensive medical records and sworn depositions. These sources and his contacts with the lawyers involved provided a wealth of background information, but unfortunately the author gets so bogged down in it that what could be a gripping story of personal ambition, corporate greed and shattered lives is burdened by a morass of inconsequential details. Klaidman opens with an account of previous misdeeds by the corporation running the hospital, foreshadowing the iniquities to come, and he then plunges into the story of one patient who narrowly escapes unneeded heart surgery there. Others are not so lucky, and Klaidman has provided numerous chilling examples of the damage they suffered. Lawyers, FBI agents, federal prosecutors—all become involved, and the legal maneuverings go on for years, dividing the town of Redding into two camps. Groups one might expect to take action—Medicare, Medicaid, the state medical board and medical society—do not. The ending is rather a letdown: There are no criminal prosecutions, no trials that might have been revealing; however, the doctors and the hospital do agree to pay large settlements. Drs. Moon and Realyvasquez are no longer practicing medicine, but, as Klaidman points out, the policies this hospital and other for-profit hospitals may conjure up in the future bears watching.

The book reveals a troubling situation, but unfortunately it’s a tedious read.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2007

ISBN: 0-7432-6754-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2006

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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