With his skill at expressing vulnerabilities, fears, and the whole spectrum of emotions, Verghese certainly has captured the addict's mind and underlying foundations of his addiction. This was a hard one for me to get through due to my addictive past. I could feel the past shame arise within me as Verghese renders his subjects apart, exposes his own naivete, and touches the heart of the matter and me as the reader.
Every doctor should be reading this book. When I worked at the teaching hospital in Richmond, the doctors would treat the addicted patients like dirt, some of them lecturing them about a subject that they had no clue about, and others just shunning them as much as they could. Verghese has done his homework, and once again expresses superbly the role of a "healer", the role of a physician, and lucky the medical student who has him as his/her teacher/mentor.