This is a wonderful, unputdownable book which details the professional life and academic training of a relatively young female brain surgeon. Good, fast-paced writing and working introduction to the world of neurology and brain surgery for those who are not familiar with it, as well as the impact her hospital schedule and work obligations have on her personal life and her relationship with her husband (who is quite understanding, being a doctor himself).
She is not just a competent professional in her field but an excellent writer as well, in that she is able to paint a very realistic picture of her daily working life and does not restrict herself to the technical aspects of her field, but also describes the “human” side of interacting with patients and their families, and how she may say or do certain things to give patients and their families emotional comfort. She also does not leave the financial and insurance realities of practicing medicine unexamined.
This book also covers hospital “corporate culture” and the technology of the field as well as how it is actually used (or in the case of many fancy expensive technological tools in hospitals and universities) _not_ actually used by the surgeons and students in everyday practice.
I recommend this book to anyone of either sex who is contemplating entering the medical profession, I wish I had had an “inside look” at the everyday life and career of such an individual when I was in high school and making career related decisions.
Especially interesting is the way she is up-front about the fact that she’s got neurological quirks of her own (which unlike the educational profession she does not seem to regard as disabilities!), including one famously shared with Harvey Cushing, one of the early developers of modern brain surgery (a problem with determining Left and Right which affects her ability to find a restaurant with which she is not familiar, but somehow hasn’t led to negative effects in the operating room).
Another interesting aspect of the book is the last chapter, where she speculates on the future of brain surgery, positing a near-future state of affairs where it would not be uncommon to engage in “cosmetic” enhancement of various intellectual faculties, with patients voluntarily perhaps enriching one area of cognitive ability at the expense of another in order to pursue careers involving extreme specialization. Whether or not this technically and financially could come to pass, or ethically _should_ come to pass are questions perhaps best left to different sorts of professionals in very different areas of specialization. She has, in these end-of-the book musings, given the public food for thought, and perhaps fodder for a science fiction novel.