Book Review: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
I just finished reading Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese, and it was fantastic! My mom actually read it and recommended it to me, but it turns out that as of March 13, 2011, Cutting for Stone ranks #2 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction list! My mom told me she has come to understand and admire me and my vocation by reading the book; it really shows the reader what a passionate, patient-focused physician thinks like and strives for.
Although it’s written as a fiction book, it’s based on a lot of autobiographical and historical information that is nonfiction. For instance, Dr. Verghese writes in the book how he grew up in Ethiopia with Indian parents and was greatly impacted by the political unrest in Ethiopia. That’s all true, and he uses many real, thrilling, and inspirational experiences in his book. He writes with such style; I was totally absorbed in his book! This novel is written in Marion Praise Stone’s voice as he narrates an impressive story of his birth along with that of his twin brother, of life growing up in the shadow of a missionary hospital in Ethiopia, of gradually increasing political turmoil in the country, and ultimately the life of an migrant American physician.
I don’t want to give away too much, but this novel really gave me a peak into what it might be like as an outsider, a foreigner to the field of medicine in a different country. Cutting for Stone deals with both the personal and professional aspects of Marion’s life; it gives the reader a good idea of what studying and/or actively working physicians deal with as crises arise both in one’s family and workplace. It exposes everyday hospital life to the reader as well as gets into the personal mind of a physician, something very unlikely to accomplish by simply shadowing physicians.