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This review is from: Second Opinion: A Doctor's Notes from the Inner City (Hardcover)
At the end of the day I look forward to sitting in my armchair with my feet up on the ottoman, pouring myself a stiff Diet Pepsi, and inhaling several pages of Dalrymple at his driest. Second Opinion, imported from England, is chock-full of amusing tales of life among the savages. I know what you'll say - Dalrymple lacks compassion! And that's what makes him so delectable, so - so transgressive! In this era where we censor ourselves before thinking, Dalrymple dares to announce what we know is true but dare not say publicly or privately. His experience working in British prisons has given him a wealth of anecdote, but his genius is in the telling. Briticisms abound. I constantly flew to the Oxford English Dictionary to translate his language to American. (I learned that supererogatory does not mean unnecessary, as I had believed, but excess. That "instantiation" is not related to "instantaneous".) There were many phrases that were so Brit that I have no idea what they mean. Nonetheless, I got the gist and enjoyed the process. Second Opinion is superbly amusing and goes down painlessly, especially taken with a double dose of Schadenfreude. I want to add that the book contains unexpected grace notes of wisdom, observations about finding meaning in life, as well as the sudden leap of empathy toward the rare patient who embodies a quiet heroism. His encounter with the young man who speaks of Othello with recognition and applies it to his own jealousy is poignant.