Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Open Heart: A Patient's Story of Life-Saving Medicine and Life-Giving Friendship by Jay Neugeboren

When Neugeboren discovered he needed emergency quintuple bypass surgery, he embarked on a journey that just began with the operating table.
I had high hopes for this book because I have sort of been on both sides, as the medical student and as the patient.

In Open Heart: A Patient's Story of Life-Saving Medicine and Life-Giving Friendship, the author shares the story of his diagnosis and his quintuple bypass surgery, as well as his friendship with several doctors and how that played into his pre- and post-op life.

One of my favorite subjects in medical school was cardiology so most of the jargon used in the book was familiar to me. I liked that there were plenty of studies and other information included and that they were properly cited. The author's friends also play a prominent part and they make the book more interesting.

Overall, however, the book did not live up to my expectations. It started off okay for me. A few chapters into it, though, and my mind started wandering. The book feels a little bit like a diary or a blog. That is, it's okay in short doses or entries, but it can be a little tedious when read in one go.

There were plenty of details and self-reflection here. Now some may like that, but personally, I found it a little boring and quite possibly self-indulgent. I believe this book could have been edited down significantly as to keep the pace at a nice clip.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the e-ARC.


  1. You'll learn a lot.
  2. You'll probably feel like you should go to your doctor and have a general examination done.
  3. There is proper citation of sources. 


  1. Some may find the pace too slow. 

"A second or two after the blood stopped flowing into your heart, the entire bottom of the TV screen - the lower part of your heart - lit up, just blossomed with the glow of all those collateral blood vessels," he says. 

  1. You think it's unlikely that you'll develop heart disease.
  2. You want to learn more about the inner workings of medicine.
  3. You don't mind books that have a slow pace. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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