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Phoning Home: Essays (edition 2014)
by Jacob M. Appel (Author)
Phoning Home: Essays by Jacob M. Appel
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This is a great collection of stories. Well written, interesting, funny. Having read a few books from the author before, i can honestly say that this one was - if not the best - one of the best from him i've read.
Phoning Home - Wonderful story about how he pranked his parents by calling their home phone and it also had a good morale at the end.
Two Cats, Fat and Thin - Awww such a sweet and sad story. So he lost his two toy cats in St. Augustine while vacationing and how he came to cope with it as a boy and as an adult. Bittersweet.
Mr. Odd and Mr. Even - Jacob's story about his two grandfathers, who couldn't be more opposite. Great story with history and very touching.
The Man who was not My Grandfather - Interesting story about Mr. Appel's grandmother and who she was originally supposed to marry before she married his grandfather. Bittersweet ending.
Caesura - Antwerp, 1938 - Lovely story about Mr. Appel's grandparents again. Different stories but still very interesting historically and personally to the author. Sweet ending.
Sudden Death - A Eulogy - A story whether it is preferable to drop dead or to grow old and die a death slowly. Interesting takes on both sides. Scary to think of but all of it absolutely true.
An Absence of Jello - At first, I thought oh this was going to be an interesting story about Alzheimers... nope full of medical information that I really didn't need to know. My least favorite story and had to skip 90% of it.
She Loves Me Not - Jacob's story of unrequited love. It was cute and weird in a good way. Opened my
eyes how some people love one sided throughout most of their life. Loved the ending.
Opting Out - Story about not disclosing to a patient that they are dying of cancer so they don't lose
their will to live. Interesting theories to this statement and a very thoughtful ending.
Charming and Devoted - Story about Jacob's two elderly patients while he was interning at the hospital.
Sad in a way but also learned a lot. Good ending.
Livery - Story about an elderly man who winds up in a psych ward due to spraining his ankle. Jacob tries everything to get him back home. Good story.
Our Incredible Shrinking Discourse - At first the story was interesting, Mr. Appel getting threats based on his articles but then I had to scroll through the rest about ethics. Sorry I lost interest and couldn't finish reading the story.
Divided Expectations - Story about what age is considered half life and the ever gnawing question of what is the life expectancy of a human these days. Interesting.
With a clear, educated and often witty voice Appel sets his thought provoking essays in a quasi-autobiographical context that encourages the reader to contemplate ethical and moral situations that have greatly impacted his life.
Appel’s ability to reminisce and reflect on past moments of his life with honesty and a retrospective maturity is fascinating to read. These essays forced me (willingly!) to consider my own experiences and relations to the moral and ethical topics covered. While the essays are thought provoking, they also showcase Appel’s strength in being able to tackle controversial topics in an honest, open-minded way that draws in the reader’s attention, encouraging them to draw their own conclusions regarding the topic.
The notion that our opinions are based upon established beliefs was eye opening for me. While It seems obvious, I was not aware of just how much my past experiences, as well as social and cultural influences, had an impact upon my perspective in the world. The culmination of these essays encouraged me to have a more open-minded contemplation of my opinions and the influences behind them.
I thoroughly enjoyed Phoning Home and will definitely be reading more by Appel in the near future.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
"Phoning Home is a collection of entertaining and thought-provoking essays featuring the author's quirky family, his Jewish heritage, and his New York City upbringing. Jacob M. Appel's recollections and insights, informed and filtered by his advanced degrees in medicine, law, and ethics, not only inspire nostalgic feelings but also offer insight into contemporary medical and ethical issues. At times sardonic and at others self-deprecating, Appel lays bare the most private aspects of his emotional life. "We'd just visited my grandaunt in Miami Beach, the last time we would ever see her. I had my two travel companions, Fat and Thin, securely buckled into the backseat of my mother's foul-tempered Dodge Dart," writes Appel of his family vacation with his two favorite rubber cat toys. Shortly thereafter Fat and Thin were lost forever--beginning, when Appel was just six years old, what he calls his "private apocalypse." Both erudite and full-hearted, Appel recounts storylines ranging from a bout of unrequited love gone awry to the poignant romance of his grandparents. We learn of the crank phone calls he made to his own family, the conspicuous absence of Jell-O at his grandaunt's house, and family secrets long believed buried. The stories capture the author's distinctive voice--a blend of a physician's compassion and an ethicist's constant questioning. "--
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)610.92Technology and Application of Knowledge Medicine and health Medicine History, geographic treatment, biography Biography
4.25 stars! ( )