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My Own Country. by Abraham. VERGHESE

My Own Country. (original 1994; edition 1994)

by Abraham. VERGHESE

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8202711,078 (4.22)120
Title:My Own Country.
Authors:Abraham. VERGHESE
Info:Simon and Schuster, (1994), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese (Author) (1994)



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Well-written, highly readable medical and personal memoir by an infectious disease specialist who became the primary care physician for AIDS patients in a rural Tennessee community just as the disease was starting to make itself known in that culture. Compassionate and informative.
Review written March 2009 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Apr 10, 2017 |
Dr. Verghese writes movingly about his early work with HIV and AIDS patients, mostly in the early to mid 1980s, the years of discovery and fear and unscreened blood supplies. He moved his family to a small town in Tennessee and, although he doubted it, he fit in well there and people loved and admired him. The work was grueling and stigmatizing, keeping him from his family a good deal of the time. This is the story of some of Dr. Verghese's patients and the life-changing effects they had on him. It's also the story of a kind, wise, thoughtful and committed doctor who turned no one away at a time when everyone was turning them away. It's the story of the early HIV epidemic and how it arrived in small towns. Innocent people contracted this virus through blood transfusions, and it's their story as well.

If you don't know much about HIV, the book is educational. If you have HIV or know much about it, the story may resonate with you and you'll wish Dr. Verghese was your doctor, willing to also be your friend during the worst of times. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
I read this book because I so enjoyed Verghese's semi-autobiographical novel, "Cutting for Stone." I wasn't disappointed. Vergehese was born in Ethiopia of Indian parents and came to the U.S. with his family when the Ehtopian emperor, Haile Selassie I, was deposed. He later went to India to complete his medical education and, due to the influence of a well-respected mentor, decided to specialize in infectious diseases. When he returned to the United States he accepted a residency in the small southern town of Johnson City, Tennessee. After his residency he spent two years at Boston City University, ultimately returning to Johnson City. This book focuses on his burgeoning practice dealing with the first AIDS patients in this small, southern town. Many of his gay patients had been born in or near Johnson City and left for the big cities and the freedom they could experience there, returning only when they discovered they had the HIV virus and were out of options. Others were infected by their loved ones or blood transfusions. Verghese, who himself feels like an outsider as a foreigner in this small Bible-belt town, takes the time to really listen to their life histories and understand their current situations, and becomes emotionally involved in their lives. His portrayal of the affilicted patients' experiences with their illness, and his reactions as he tries to improve their lives, are completely engrossing. He has a great compassion for those he serves and I was left wondering what happened next both in their lives and his. I will definitely be adding his second book, "The Tennis Partner: A Story of Friendship and Loss," to my TBR list. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
Abraham Verghese's My Own Country reaches beyond either memoir or a look at HIV/AIDS. In part, it is an examination of health care--for better and for worse--and even more, it is a look at prejudice, and at the ways stereotypes and bias are both underestimated and overestimated. From his position as an Indian doctor who has relocated to Johnson City, Tennessee, and is further set aside as a specialist in infectious disease who becomes an entire hospital system's touchstone specialist for HIV/AIDS, Verghese is in a solitary position, but his honesty and his attention to detail make that position all the more powerful.

Whether speaking of his inability to balance home and work, of what Indian culture looks like when transplanted across an ocean and into rural America (and how it's accepted), of the courageous men and women who attempt to care for one another in the face of a new and deadly disease, of the daily battles against HIV/AIDS, or of prejudice against either culture or disease, he honors each scene and each person with impressive detail that be difficult for any reader to forget.

Difficult as it is to describe, this book is many things, none of them simple. But even long after the days it documents, it is powerful, and it is worth reading.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | May 28, 2016 |
Verghese is an engaging writer with a fascinating story that touches on much more than just AIDS and its devastating effect on people and their families. The heart of the book is, of course, Verghese's relationship with his patients. Some we see for only a short time, but others are woven throughout the book, along with their families, and the reader becomes just as tied up in their lives and their pain as Verghese. Beyond a few criticisms, this is a good book. It provides a snapshot of not-that-long-ago America where neither AIDS nor homosexuality were understood by the general population at all. Verghese confronts some of his own biases and misconceptions about gay people through the course of the book, and while he doesn't get everything right, his journey and his effort come off well. While this book is definitely a downer, there is a bright side in looking at how much the conversation has changed in the past 25 years, and how much doctors and researchers like Verghese have helped people living with HIV and AIDS.

[ full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2016/02/my-own-country-doctors-story-by-abraham.ht... ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Feb 27, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679752927, Paperback)

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an “urban problem” had arrived in the town to stay.
Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
Out of his experience comes a startling but ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland as it confronts—and surmounts—its deepest prejudices and fears.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young doctor of eastern Tennessee describes the town's first introduction to the AIDS virus, which preceded a disturbing epidemic and introduced the doctor to many unique people.

(summary from another edition)

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