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Heart in the Right Place [Kindle Edition]

Carolyn Jourdan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made. But when her mother has a heart attack, she returns home—to the Tennessee mountains, where her father is a country doctor and her mother works as his receptionist. Jourdan offers to fill in for her mother until she gets better. But days turn into weeks as she trades her suits for scrubs and finds herself following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits are never billed. Most important, though, she comes to understand what her caring and patient father means to her close-knit community.

With great humor and great tenderness, Heart in the Right Place shows that some of our biggest heroes are the ones living right beside us.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Former U.S. Senate counsel Jourdan writes of giving up her fast-paced life in Washington to work in her father's family medical practice office in east Tennessee. "For forty years, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week," she writes, "Momma and Daddy ran a homemade, low paid 911 service for a large rural community. There was no such thing as a day off, ever." When her mother had a heart attack, leaving the front desk unmanned, Jourdan returned home to help keep the area's only doctor's office afloat while she recovered. What began as a two-day stay stretched out indefinitely, forcing Jourdan to learn to "calmly register nice people with hard jobs who routinely came in covered in hog or chicken blood." Missing Washington, she wrestles with questions of courage and loyalty, belonging and identity, and living with meaning and purpose. The demands of her new job test her, from the drama of triaging the waiting room and the tedium of negotiating the Medicare coding system to the loss of several favorite patients. In the end, she finds that she is after all her parents' daughter, possessing strength that earned her mother the nickname " Sarge," as well as her father's selfless devotion to this working-poor community. Jourdan's dispatches from the reception desk make for a stirring, beautiful memoir that is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, and ultimately a triumph. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

One day she's hearing congressional testimony and attending black-tie fund-raisers, the next she's filing Medicare forms and mopping up bodily fluids. As the [...] child of a country doctor and his receptionist wife, Jourdan respected her parents' selfless commitment of caring for the disenfranchised people of east Tennessee, but she reveled in her glitzy life as a superstar lawyer in Washington, DC. When her mother suffered a heart attack, however, Jourdan was called home to help out for a "few days" that quickly turned into weeks, then months. Faced with the dilemma of forsaking a high-powered career that could influence matters on a national level for a menial job that directly affected the lives of one small town, Jourdan was surprised to discover that sometimes the greater good can best be served one person at a time. With lavish affection, genuine respect, and exuberant humor, Jourdan offers a zestfully compassionate portrait of a poor community rich in the ways of true humanity. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 439 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1565124871
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (May 17, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0G9E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,973 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, inspirational, and unputdownable!!!! August 18, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When Senate Counsel Carolyn Jourdan returns to the mountains of eastern Tennessee from Washington, DC after the sudden illness of her mother, she has no idea how long she'll be needed to fill in her role as receptionist for her father, the kindly country doctor. She figures at first it will just be two days. But readers can be glad that it wasn't as in Heart in the Right Place, Jourdan takes the reader on a true journey of the heart to the people of eastern Tennessee and through all the trials and tribulations of a small country one-doctor medical practice. One where he might be paid in even a fox carcass if he charged his patients anything at all.

We meet and learn to love the patients in the practice such as the eccentric Miss Hiawatha and the kindly Mike who doesn't hardly know he is handicapped. And then there are the two friends Obie and Kermit. You never know what kind of predicament they are going to get themselves into next and what kind of injuries it's going to cause. Each time they come through the clinic door it's going to be something totally different. The big question on everyone's mind is, will Carolyn stay in eastern Tennessee where she earned $0 in one year or return to her high-power, six-figure job in Washington, DC?

It was recommended I get this book via Amazon's Customers Also Bought feature after I had purchased another book. I clicked on it and read the description. As a long-time medical office employee it sounded right up my alley. But it would appeal to anyone who enjoys sweet stories with quirky characters such as the Mitford series by Jan Karon or anyone who lives the TV series Northern Exposure or Ballykissangel. But these are very real people here, not those from fiction.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner June 9, 2007
Format:Hardcover
What a surprise. It looked like a good read, but I couldn't put it down. The first book in a long time that I read in one day. Enjoyable, funny, tear jerker, heart warming all fit this this book.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, never sappy, read. March 4, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Readers looking for something touching and personal will certainly enjoy this. It is a fast book to read, mixing humor and poignancy well. If you like A Prairie Home Companion With Garrison Keillor (30th Anniversary Season Celebration) then you will be interested in this. The book does tend toward over-long explanation, especially at the end. The tale could have finished on a more powerful note if it had been three chapters shorter. However, if you are tired of reading books that cram the heroine's love life down your throat, you will certainly enjoy the maturely understated love that may be blossoming for Carolyn here. Just a note of warning to the squeamish, there are graphic descriptions of accidents and surgeries.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Book! February 4, 2008
Format:Hardcover
A very good friend recommended this book to me because I don't live very far from the town where the author's father practiced medicine. It turned out to be an excellent recommendation because I don't know when I have enjoyed a book more than I did this one. Being a native of the same area as the author I recognized many of the characters that she describes although they have different names and live a little farther to the east. I even had a relative who was just like Miss Hiawatha. Miss Hiawatha in case you are wondering is one of the many delightful characters that populate this book.

The basic plot of this book follows a powerful Washington DC attorney (the author) who has to take a leave from her job as a Senate council to come back home to East Tennessee to help out her parents. Her father is a doctor in a small town just outside of Knoxville who offers care to anyone and everyone regardless of their ability to pay and he even takes things like chickens in trade. Because of that he can't afford to hire a receptionist when his wife suffers a heart attack and has to take some time off. The author plans on spending a few days helping out but days turn into months and she ends up getting very attached to the job.

As she tries to settle in to her new duties the author runs into a cast of characters that could never be called up from even the most fertile imagination. Besides Miss Hiawatha there is a farmer who has the worst luck in the world and a George Jones like character who gets drunk and drives his lawnmower down the four-lane highway. And those three are just the appetizers. There are parts of this book that will make you laugh so hard that you will cry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Senate staffer, smart girl, and Christian Carolyn Jourdan returns from a high power (paying "nearly $100,000 a year") job to her roots in rural Tennessee to help her doctor father, while her mother recuperates, at his small town medical practice, described as (p 177) "an icon," at which he provides excellent service to an array of colorful characters with a wide spectrum of ailments at bargain prices (not exceeding (p 150) $62 in its 40 years in existence). She explains the routine of her unpaid position as, (p 124), "Every day in this place was spent viewing the most personal and critical moments of other people's lives, but from an oddly disjointed perspective." Ms. Jourdan's memoir is an assemblage of unusual and oft-humorous stories about the local folks as remembered during a period of about a year, tales ranging from basic and benign to outlandishly embarrassing. Providing this type of personal information about patients begs the question, What about HIPAA?

Because both her mother (in pharmacology) and father have PhDs, it's no surprise that they (in their seventies at the time of the story) were able to start the practice in the first place. The amazing thing is that they kept at it for so long in spite of the difficulties and sacrifices involved in doing so. Dr. Jourdan regularly provides medical care to anyone who shows up at his office, regardless of his or her ability to pay (which involves, at times, some unique nonmonetary compensation). At first, Carolyn holds out hope of returning to continue in her more glamorous work in D.C. Ultimately, though (readers know at the outset from the dust jacket), she decides to stay in Tennessee and help her family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book.
I love this book. I first learned about it when Prof. Don Noble interviewed Ms. Jourdan and was fasinated with her humor and sensitivity. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Kaiser
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart in the Right Place will be a book for all times and certainly...
Take a trip with Carolyn Jourdan to a wonderful place where people are loved and cared for by a dear country Doctor. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Jacqueline Bale-Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
This was a little lightweight for my tastes -- fairly predictable plot and characters not so interesting but just characters. Read more
Published 29 days ago by J. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REAL CARING PEOPLE AND THE PATHETIC POLITICAL...
An awesome story about an attorney who gets to realize what things in life are really important.....
Published 1 month ago by bill CARLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A heart warming story.
Published 1 month ago by kitty kat
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by CJ
I have read almost all of Carolyn Jourdan's books and so far loved each one. There are so many great reviews already written so I'll just say believe them and get the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderful true story. makes you think how we all need each other.
Published 1 month ago by D. Creasman
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely story of transformation
The title is a metaphor for several events in this story leading up to the transformation of the author. Well done!
Published 1 month ago by M. M. Ludlum
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Love This Book
I can't say how much I love this book. My family is from upper East Tennessee; and although I grew up in Chattanooga, which is closer to Atlanta, as a child I spent so much time... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Deborah Hawkins
4.0 out of 5 stars I like this story very much
I like this story very much. It was beautifully written and I found the characters amusing. It is a good story with the all the different personalities of the doctor's patients.
Published 1 month ago by Corky
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More About the Author

Carolyn Jourdan is a multi-Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author.

Her first book: "Heart in the Right Place" was a #7 Wall Street Journal Bestseller and #1 on Amazon in Biography, Memoir, Science, Medicine, and Doctor-Patient Relations.

The follow-up, "Medicine Men: Extreme Appalachian Doctoring," was also #1 on Amazon in Biography, Memoir, Science, Medicine, and Doctor-Patient Relations.

"Out on a Limb: A Smoky Mountain Mystery," her third book and first work of fiction, was #1 on Amazon Mystery, Cozy, and Medical Fiction.

Her fourth and fifth books, "Bear in the Back Seat: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Vols. I & II" hit #9 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and #1 on Amazon in Science, Biology, Animals, Bears, and Travel Biography.

Jourdan's newest books, "The School for Mysteries" and "The School for Psychics" are the first in a new series of light, witty, romantic comedy and suspense novels with mild paranormal elements.

Carolyn is a former U.S. Senate Counsel to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (now Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs).

Visit her at www.CarolynJourdan.com and hear her read stories from the book.

Carolyn has degrees from the University of Tennessee in Biomedical Engineering and Law.

She lives on the family farm in East Knox County, Tennessee, with many stray animals.

She is a popular speaker on television, radio, and in person.

More info at http://www.CarolynJourdan.com
http://facebook.com/CarolynJourdan
http://facebook.com/CarolynJourdanAuthor
http://twitter.com/CarolynJourdan
https://www.facebook.com/BlackBearBook

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