Customer Reviews: Heart in the Right Place
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2007
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. I laughed and I cried, I read passages out loud to my husband, and I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning two nights in a row to finish it. I can't recommend this book enough. You will want to buy one for yourself and another as a gift for someone you care about.
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on June 9, 2007
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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on March 4, 2008
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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on February 4, 2008
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. Of course with this being the story of a doctor's office there are other very sad stories that will make you cry for other reasons. This author has a distinct talent for causing her readers to get very attached to the characters that she writes about.

On the technical side this is a very well written book and it contains some very thought provoking chapters. The author put a lot of feeling into this book and it shows. Above all though this is just an enjoyable book about some wonderful and sometimes eccentric people who reside in East Tennessee. This was a very good book and it is one that will always hold a special place in my personal library.
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on August 8, 2012
I am a retired librarian and inveterate reader. I found Heart in the Right Place to be a delightful book. Carolyn Jourdan makes her characters truly come to life in this charming memoir. While there is much humor in the book, there is also obvious respect for the people of this area. Carolyn's parents come across as caring people, devoted to the wellbeing of those in their community. Carolyn learned that her heart was "in the right place" when she came back home to help after her mother's heart attack. The power, politics, and money of Washington, D.C. somehow paled in comparison with the need to "do the right thing" when her family needed her. I have shared this book with so many readers, and ALL have loved it. I have recommended it to several different book clubs, and it engendered some excellent discussions. I have reviewed the book for several gatherings, and many, many people have remarked how much they enjoyed hearing about the book and/or looked forward to reading it themselves. This is a book that leaves one feeling better about life and our fellow human beings. I look forward to other books by this excellent author!
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on July 13, 2014
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 visiting this area between Knoxville and the Virginia border. The author has done the most fantastic job of creating the people of this area, their eccentricities, they wonderful hearts, and their view of the outside world. Through them, Ms. Jourdan makes you cry, makes you laugh, and makes you think about what really matters in life.

Compassion and respect for others are the hallmarks of Ms. Jourdan's memoir. She leaves the compassionless legal-political world of Washington, D.C. for her father's rural medical practice where patients, even those who can't pay, are never turned away yet are never deprived of their dignity. What begins as a three-day temp job to cover for her seriously ill mother becomes a much longer opportunity for the author to reconnect with her roots and to reexamine the meaning of her own life. Her account is always honest and never sentimental; and Ms. Jourdan makes the reader feel, along with her, the strength of the competing forces in her life. Does she go back to D.C. or does she stay in Tennessee? The resolution of her dilemma is heroic and authentic.

This book is funny, sad, tender, and compassionate. There are so few books that I know I will read again, but Heart in the Right Place is at the head of my list. You will love every minute you spend with this book.
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on November 8, 2012
This book grabs your attention from page one. Deep, insightful, and laugh til you cry funny. The author's adapting from having a successful career in Washington, DC to going home to help her parents "for a couple days" is a ride down her road well worth taking. Her thoughts, the people she meets, and her experiences and realizations about the direction of her own life along the way make this book a pure pleasure.
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on January 19, 2016
The lead character keeps going through the same crisis WEEKLY and it gets really old, really fast.
1) Mom is sick.
2) Work at clinic, freak out about inability to copy and do this job.
3) Dream about returning to high-powered job in DC
4) Feel good about helping your parents & town
5) Rinse & repeat.

Writing wasn't really interesting enough to outweigh it for me. There are definitely some more entertaining anecdotes like the goat in the office, the 3 little old ladies who help each other out. But overall, this is a book I would have stopped reading half way through and moved on to something better if it hadn't been for a book club I am in.

Having said all that, I know that everyone has their own preferences in what they want to read. If you want something quick, lighthearted, and entertaining to read this is a good book. It's a "feel good" kinda book.
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on November 17, 2015
This is one of the best books I've ever read. A true story of a high powered lawyer that comes home to help out in her dad's small town medical office when her mother becomes ill. Her storytelling is phenomenal. I laughed til I cried. Her struggles with what to do with her life are touching. Her characters so real you really feel for them and cheer for them and cry for them. I was constantly reading pieces to friends as I read. I couldn't get enough of it. I hope Ms Jourdan will write more. I have bought multiple copies to give to friends. It really has something for everyone. Real heart!

might recommend Population 485 by Michael Perry. Not as funny, but with great heart.

quote from book: "It's hurting in a place I call my skull, between my arm and my neck, near the fingers, cause of my leg, over on the other side. It hurts. Ye might wanna jab a needle in it.... I need to get my feet and ankles xrayed. I took the flu, got diarrhea, and it went to my feet. It didn't help that I dropped a piece of wood on them either."
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on August 1, 2007
Heart in the Right Place was everything I wanted it to be when I purchased it a couple of weeks ago on vacation in the Smokies. This story tugs at your heartstrings, making you laugh one minute and cry the next. I was lucky to be in the right place myself and had my copy signed by the author. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a great read!
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