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Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside Author:Katrina Firlik Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon, one of only two hundred or so women among the alpha males who dominate this high-pressure, high-prestige medical specialty. She is also a superbly gifted writer–witty, insightful, at once deeply humane and refreshingly wry. In Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Dr. Firlik draws on this rare combination to cr... more »eate a neurosurgeon’s Kitchen Confidential–a unique insider’s memoir of a fascinating profession.
Neurosurgeons are renowned for their big egos and aggressive self-confidence, and Dr. Firlik confirms that timidity is indeed rare in the field. “They’re the kids who never lost at musical chairs,” she writes. A brain surgeon is not only a highly trained scientist and clinician but also a mechanic who of necessity develops an intimate, hands-on familiarity with the gray matter inside our skulls. It’s the balance between cutting-edge medical technology and manual dexterity, between instinct and expertise, that Firlik finds so appealing–and so difficult to master.
Firlik recounts how her background as a surgeon’s daughter with a strong stomach and a keen interest in the brain led her to this rarefied specialty, and she describes her challenging, atypical trek from medical student to fully qualified surgeon. Among Firlik’s more memorable cases: a young roofer who walked into the hospital with a three-inch-long barbed nail driven into his forehead, the result of an accident with his partner’s nail gun, and a sweet little seven-year-old boy whose untreated earache had become a raging, potentially fatal infection of the brain lining.
From OR theatrics to thorny ethical questions, from the surprisingly primitive tools in a neurosurgeon’s kit to glimpses of future techniques like the “brain lift,” Firlik cracks open medicine’s most prestigious and secretive specialty. Candid, smart, clear-eyed, and unfailingly engaging, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world of incredible competition and incalculable rewards.
I really don't know what to say about this book, but I'll try:
First, the medical stories were really only enough to fill a few articles.
Second, I never really felt like I was *there* and getting in on the inside scoop.
Third, I found her very judgemental. She actually has the gall to speak ill of a patient who wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Stupid, yes. Worthy of snide remarks from a "professional"? NO. It's not even like she was using it as a cautionary tale. She was just plain mean and unprofessional.
Also, along those lines, she talks about how she "tolerates" religious people. In fact there's a whole section on her beliefs and how she is clearly correct. Whether I agree with her or not, what does this have to do with brain surgery? And really, her tone was incredibly insulting.
Fourth, she is incredibly shallow - complaining about how everything she does is so important and the burden it places on her. She muses about what it would be like to have a normal desk job or something that is not "important" so she wouldn't have this kind of stress. This makes me think a) she clearly has no clue what the rest of the world deals with; b) she is a complete egomaniac; and c) if it's so bad, why are you in it????????
Fifth, and related to my last question, is that she seems like she really doesn't give a hoot about any of her patients. They're just another thing to squeeze in to her already totally overloaded days. Well, gee, I'm sure they're all very sorry for the imposition.
If you want to read some REALLY good medical memoirs, start with Atul Gawande. Also check out Jerome Groopman (sp?). These are NOT more difficult reading - just light years superior. Seriously, after you read these, Frontal Lobe will look like an amateur "everybody's writing a book" book.
the author talks/writes like a neurosurgeon;if that does not bother you than you will enjoy this book. there is much medical jargon and trips into the brain but the book is empty of much emotion and feeling.sometimes humerous but mostly bland.
Certainly an entertaining book, but really just okay. Although I had some complaints with the book, none of them made me want to stop reading. I couldn't put it down. However, it was poorly written and edited. There are some cringe-worthy mechanical/grammatical errors. Because the author has a difficult day job, however, I suppose we can forgive some of the sub-par writing. The last chapter, in my opinion, was extraneous and self-indulgent. I could have done without that--it left a bad taste in my mouth and I wish the editor had removed it. About the tone of the book: although it does take guts and self confidence to succeed in the field of neurosurgery, that came across in writing as arrogance on several occasions, especially at the beginning of the book. The arrogant tone did seem to wane as the book went on (or maybe I just got used to it).
But, as I mentioned before, all my complaints aside, I was riveted through the whole book.
Katrina Firlik writes a chummy, frank book about her life as a neurosurgeon. It sometimes wanders but not too far. This is a fun and honest description of her training and practice in a little described area of medicine.
Jodi H. (jodi-m) reviewed Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside on
Helpful Score: 2
Dr. Firlik writes a great narrative, and includes interesting anecdotes about a world we (hopefully) never need to know about. I would recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in medical non-fiction.