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Humorous Allegories About A Small Town Medical Practice
on October 7, 2011
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 appears to be a rather self-deprecating person, although learned having graduated from Harvard Medical School, and later worked at UC Berkeley Hospital system,Grady in Atlanta, Temple in Philadelphia plus being an adjunct professor at Dartmouth. I see the author as sort of Garrison Keillor transplanted to Vermont.
But let me say that I agree with some of the other reviewers that the chosen names for some of the characters in these allegorical sketches do get a bit grating after a while. Some examples are Paul and Melinda Barker-Purris for the husband and wife vet team, Muriel Goode and Olive Best for the spinster sisters who lived together for so many years that you couldn't tell them apart, plus too many others to mention, but you get the idea. However, all that aside, they are but minor points in the entirety of what the author has to say, and I think he says it quite well. The book is really a series of homilies and even a soliloquy or two thrown in for good measure; there is a strong moral perspective throughout. The writing is humorous without being of the belly laugh variety, but more of a humorous bent. My favorite chapter came late in the book and was called AMERICANITIS, in which the author tries to explain to a hypochondriacal patient how the psychiatric/psychological disorder/symptom of neurasthenia has morphed into the more modern term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
You won't roll on the floor laughing, but I think most people will enjoy the humor without any four-letter words used, and may actually see what life for a small town doctor is really like. A similar book but with individual accounts from a myriad of practitioners in various locales that I also thoroughly enjoyed was THE COUNTRY DOCTOR REVISITED edited by Therese Zink, MD.