Hello all! Today I wanted to share some of my favorite books that helped me realize I want to pursue a career in medicine. Now, for fellow pre-health or current professional people, these books are a great read. For anyone else just looking for a book recommendation, I highly recommend the follow! These books are great because although they do mention the diseases or disorders the individuals have, they focus on the actual story of the characters and how their illness impacts them as a multi-faceted human rather than as a laundry list of organs and symptoms. So without further ado…
We Are All the Same: A Story of a Boy’s Courage and a Mother’s Love Jim Wooten
This story is written by a journalist and definitely has a more ‘report’ style feel but the story of the young boy Nkosi Johnson who became the humanized face of AIDS in South Africa. Nkosi’s story and courage is inspiring. If you don’t read the book, I encourage you to at least watch Nkosi’s address at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa from 2000. The then 12 year old states “You can’t get AIDS by hugging, kissing, holding hands. We are normal. We are human beings. We can walk, we can talk… We have needs just like everyone else. We are all the same.”
Broken Child Marcia Cameron
This book absolutely blew me away! Dissociative disorders, or more commonly referred to as multiple personality disorders, are incredibly interesting to read about. This book is rare in that it is written by the individual suffering from the disease. Marcia Cameron (name was changed for publishing) recounts her life story and how she gained multiple personalities or alters and how she pushed towards recovery. Anyone interested in psychology will enjoy this!
Trigger warning: This book contains vivid description of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures Anne Fadiman
While definitely not a light read, this book really changed my views on what it mean to be a ‘good’ health care professional in America. The book is based on the true story of Lia Lee, a Hmong child who was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. The book explores the cultural clash between the Hmong culture and the culture of science. Incredibly eye opening.
Moloka’i Alan Brennert
This is one of my all-time favorite books and is my go to recommendation when a friend is looking for something new to read. The story follows Rachel Kalama after she is sent to the island of Moloka’i near Hawaii due to being diagnosed with leprosy. On the island, along with the other inhabitants, Rachel attempts to find a new life despite trying conditions. The book is a fabulous piece of historical fiction and has something for everyone and a beautiful message that happiness and love can be found anywhere that you look for them.