Customer Reviews


39 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous Allegories About A Small Town Medical Practice
I found this to be a delightful and humorous account of the life of typical small town medical doctor facing real everyday problems, not the hectic and dramatic but totally false events shown in movie or TV medical dramas. The author tells his story as sort of the Marcus Welby, MD of the fictional town of Dumster, VT which is a stand in for Windsor, VT. The good doctor...
Published on October 7, 2011 by D_shrink

versus
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Taking The Long Way Home
Dr Beach Conger writes about his life as a physician, the people he treats and the communities he lives in. He is disparaging of medical centers and specialists in particular. He prefers to be in control of the kind of medicine he practices, and that is the philosophy of most physicians. But, this is the modern times, like it or not, and it seems Dr Conger is not going to...
Published on October 3, 2011 by prisrob


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an enjoyable read, January 8, 2012
This book should be classified as fiction. The writer implies in the "author's note" - and admits on the next to last page - that most of his patients were made up. I suspect most of his experiences were also fictional. I was expecting a collection of down-home humorous anecdotes. There were a few,and some were laugh out loud funny. The doctor seems to have two kinds of patients - good ole boys (and gals) that he obviously looks down on, and educated ones who agree with him about everything. He makes a few good points, but overall it's not that entertaining.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Book, December 26, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a book to read in a leisurely manner, sort of like rolling the nice taste of a home grown tomato on the tongue. One likes the patients and the doctor. Of course they aren't real patients. Rather they are representations of a type.

It reminds me of the family doctor we had when I was growing up. He took time to chat. He talked about books. He made house calls and was known to accept freshly made bread as payment. He visited Yale Medical School in order to learn the most up-to-date treatment for a disease my father had acquired in Africa and which had hitherto been fatal.

One reviewer said the book was political. Liberal???? I didn't see that at all. More the kind of conservative from before they changed the definition. More musing from an earlier time. More New England.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing, November 7, 2011
By 
Rushmore (CHICAGO, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was not wowed by this book.

Contrary to the title, Beach Conger is not just writing about being a Vermont Country Doctor. He also spends time treating patients in the poorest part of Philadelphia (which he calls Other Philadelphia, I have no idea whether people really call it that). One of his goals is apparently to contrast doctoring in the two locales. This goal, like others, is not fully realized.

Beach (which is admittedly a really cool name) seems to go for a combination of James Herriott and Bill Bryson, adding in a little political health care commentary. It doesn't really hang together for me. His voice is not strong. I imagine he would be a hard person to really know.

This book is a combination of fiction and memoir. He alludes to this at the beginning of the book and clarifies it somewhat in the last chapter. The comparison to James Herriott is unavoidable. Herriott works much better because a) you never really knew whether the characters were real or imagined or a composite, and he didn't feel it necessary to tell you; and b) it was a different place and time. Here we are dealing with more or less current events. We must decide whether to believe people really act like this or talk like this.

The names Conger chooses for his patients are problematic. It makes me wonder whether he is really having a good laugh at their expense. They are jokey and sometimes a bit snarky. Reading this from more of a patient point of view, it makes me uneasy. Do most doctors make fun of their patients behind their backs? It diminishes the credibility of anything else he says - and he does have strong opinions about the state of health care in America today.

We also get a little bit of history, particularly New England history and the history of medical developments through the ages. This is pretty interesting, even if he tends to ramble on too long in these passages.

It's not a terrible book (faint praise, I know). The thing is, it pretty much fails my main criterion for a memoir (or quasi-memoir in this case): do I want to know this person better? I'm sorry to say Beach Conger seems kind of dull. It took me a long time to get to the end of this book. I don't believe he has any affection for his patients or for Vermont, which seems to me essential if one were to write a book like this. From the title, I thought it was going to be a fun book to read. It was more serious than I expected. That would have been OK, if Beach Conger were a more dynamic author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bedtime reading, October 26, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are better books written by doctors that were harder to put down but this is still a good read. It isn't a story that inspires one to have confidence in our medical system but it is a more realistic look at what doctors really know and the failures of our teaching institutions. In that fashion, I would even consider the book a bit depressing and discouraging in it's refreshing honesty. I think I am more jaded about our health care system than ever before and I didn't think that was possible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This memoir is definitely more than something, but not much more., October 20, 2011
By 
Beldini (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those of us who are fans of James Herriot, the concept of a small-town doctor and his larger-than life experiences has proven rewarding. Unfortunately, in the case of Dr.Beach Conger's "It's Probably Nothing: More Adventures of a Vermont Country Doctor," there are no such lingering effects.

His follow-up to "Bag Balm and Duct Tape," the new anecdotal book, based on his experiences as a physician who relocates with his wife to suburban Philadelphia and subsequently returns to his old small-town practice in Dumster, Vermont, features characters that aren't particularly memorable, while the patients' stories, for the most part, aren't sufficiently involving.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, October 11, 2011
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The last time I read anything by this author, Beach Conger, MD, was in 1989 when the book "Bag Balm and Duct Tape" came out. I enjoyed those stories about Dr. Conger's adventures of a Vermont country doctor then and I have enjoyed the stories now in 2011. I find Dr. Conger's style of writing so witty but so descriptive that it feels like you are working side-by-side with him and experiencing everything that he has experienced. Maybe because I have lived in New England (albeit Connecticut) and I now live in Baltimore and have visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on occasion, I feel a kinship with this author's experiences. I am also a nurse and have been for 33 years, so many of his experiences seem to be my experiences as well. I can relate. Even if you have no idea about the medical environment, I think most people would like this book. It is about people, about humanity, and the myriad issues that people have. It is about living and dying and the crazy world we live in. I found myself laughing, crying, frowning, smiling, and just simply getting lost in Dr. Conger's world.

It has simply been too long since his last adventures but better later than never! I am a grateful reader. This book is a gem!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Or, less than nothing?, October 25, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These reminiscences of a country/city doc missed me. Pleasant, but boring. I couldn't bring myself to continue past the first several chapters.

That said, I get the impression he would have been a fine primary care physician, and probably did his patients right, both medically, and in that much hazier area of bedside manner.

But, alas, not a writer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The people side of doctoring, October 17, 2011
By 
atmj (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Beach Conger has been a doctor a long time. In that time he has come to realize that doctoring is more than just diagnosing and the patients are more than just a pile of symptoms.
This book is more of a collection of his observations on those patients and the science of doctoring as it is today.
He tells the story of his working in a small town in Vermont, called Dumpster and his momentary madness moving to Philadelphia, where he thought he might do more good.

What characterizes this entire book is Dr. Congers wonderful ability to turn a phrase. He captures moments, not with medical jargon but with the inexplicable way humans deal with situations and wraps them up in a bow. I laughed out loud many times and smiled at how he said things through out the book. It's is hard for me to describe this here, so I will give you a specific example: Dearly Beloved is his wife "Trine".

"Of the more endearing features of Dearly Beloved, my favorite is her consideration. She knows that for one who spends most of his waking hours reassuring the unreassurable and tracting the intractable to expect active participation in ordinary interspousal communication would be quite beyond pale. Accordingly she has taken it upon herself willing and I even might say at times eagerly, to maintain not only her end of our tete-a-tete, but mine as well. She asks only that I appear attentive while she is we. It is the least I can do."

This guy cracks me up. He points out the everyday relationship stuff as well as the communication with doctor and patient in such a way, it is both familiar and hysterical. It captures those moments of consternation when things make little sense and offers humor to either explain or make a situation easier to deal with.

Having grown up in a small town not too far from Vermont (Upper NY state) I know what small towns offer in character and lack of formality. This provides an easy flow between doctor and patient. Sometimes however it is the Doctor that learns something.

Having not read his earlier book "Bag Balm and Duct Tape" and thoroughly enjoyed this book I plan to get that one as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and sincere, October 10, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With good humor and insight Dr. Conger shares his experiences as a small town doctor. Told through a series of well written anecdotes, "It's Probably Nothing" is filled with heart warming goodness that makes you smile. An extremely entertaining tale. I did find the goofy names distracting...(Barker-Purris?) Really? Over all it is a good read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whither medicine?, October 2, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a story of two quite different medical practices, told in lightly amusing anecdotes and musings by a doctor who moved from a rural town to a big city teaching hospital and back again.

Dr. Beach Conger and his Norwegian wife had initially left California to move to rural Vermont many years ago. The doctor, an internist who had functioned in California as a self-described maitre d', directing savvy health care consumers to the appropriate specialists, found general practice in rural Vermont to be quite different. His patients expected him to actually treat their ailments, and were resistant to being foisted off onto unknown and inconveniently distant specialists. "But I've never fixed a broken wrist before", he said to a patient reluctant to travel 35 miles to an orthopedic surgeon. "I've never broken one before neither" was the response. Dr. Conger set the wrist.

When his wife, a social worker, decided there just wasn't enough misery and poverty in rural Vermont to challenge her, they moved to Philadelphia, where the author accepted a job as attending physician, or hospitalist, at a large inner city teaching hospital. Here he was assigned a senior and two junior residents, who did the actual examination and treatment of patients. His job was to draw correct diagnoses and treatment plans from this team without ever examining or treating the patient himself, even though he was listed as the attending physician.

Following an accident, his wife finally decided she had enough of inner city misery, and they returned to Vermont, where Dr. Conger resumed his rural hands-on practice.

I learned a bit about how modern medical practices work, and enjoyed the low key humor throughout this book. Vermont can rightly claim Dr. Conger as its its very own Garrison Keillor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.