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Uninspired and clumsily-written, this is the tale of an idealistic young intern's eye-opening month working with premature infants in the intensive-care ward of a Boston hospital. In 1976, fresh out of medical school, Bob Sharon and his fellow interns, Terry Costa and Ray Brewster, are assigned to a month's rotation in the intensive-care nursery of the famous Prenatal Intensive Care Center at St. Anne's Hospital in Cambridge, where the patients are premature infants in various stages of health. Sharon, inexperienced but raring to go, soon runs into a stone wall in the person of Dr. John Sullivan, director of the Center. Sullivan is uncouth, paranoic, megalomaniacal, possibly alcoholic--a kind of Captain Queeg who thwarts the intrepid young doctor at every turn. The book very quickly turns into a heavy-handed diatribe against Sullivan and his toady-ish assistant, the ""sniveling wimp"" Simon Frohman. In a tedious series of anecdotes designed to show Sullivan's basic unfitness and Sharon's rightness and courage, the reader sees Sullivan ranting and raving, misdiagnosing, hungering after publicity, and slandering Sharon and his friends, weary antiheroes all. Sharon's frustration sometimes drives him to fits of weeping, but he does win out in the end: Frohman has an acute pyschotic breakdown, and Sullivan is eventually fired with the help of a rich hospital patron whose grandchild Sharon saves with a brilliant diagnosis. In a brief epilogue, Sharon, now a successful New York neonatologist, returns to St. Anne's eight years later to attend a ""Preemie Picnic"" where, in an orgy of self-congratulation, he meets the children he had labored to save: ""Sharon, do you know who this man is? This is Dr. Sharon. You're named after him'"" Devoid of either humor or drama, relentlessly self-aggrandizing, it might've been better and more merciful all around had Born Too Soon beep born not at all.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1985
Publisher: Doubleday