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Editorial Reviews

As author and narrator, Julie Holland characterizes a bizarre cast of patients - schizophrenics, potential suicides, and those who think they're possessed by spirits - whom she met as admitting physician of the psychiatric emergency room of Bellevue hospital, in New York City. She also portrays the hospital staff, including arrogant doctors, kooky social workers, and supportive nurses. Turning a witty, astute lens on herself, she reveals an array of personal struggles - fear of a stalker, the death of a colleague, the challenges of staying sane while working with the insane. Holland's ironic and self-mocking tones and her varied accents are as engaging as her stories. Though her writing is sometimes disjointed, her pacing is exquisite.
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Publisher's Summary

His name was Joshua Silver. He was 23 years old, educated, and had an impressive vocabulary. The NYPD had found Joshua Silver naked in Times Square, barking like a dog.
It was just another night for Julie Holland, the attending doctor in the world-famous Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric emergency room. Every weekend for nine years, it was Holland's job to evaluate and treat all patients admitted, from the schizophrenic to the bipolar to the traumatized, from the homicidal to the suicidal to victims of unthinkable crimes.
In this absorbing memoir, Holland provides a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life-altering experience at Bellevue, recounting stories of the patients who moved, terrified, fascinated, and amused her, the patients who helped her grow in ways she never imagined. Along the way she documents her life outside the hospital - her relationship with her husband and the births of their children; her own therapy sessions, which helped her finally crack through the tough exterior she had formed; and her close bond with her best friend and mentor, Lucy, a fellow doctor whose battle with cancer left Holland forever changed.
©2009 Julie Holland (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
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Critic Reviews

"An extraordinary insider's look at the typical days and nights of that most extraordinary place, written with a rare combination of toughness, tenderness, and outrageous humor, this book is a fast read that you will savor long after you have put it down." (Andrew Weil, MD)
"Equal parts affecting, jaw-dropping, and engrossing." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By A. M. Dalessandro on 09-24-10

An Uneven Memoir

Both somewhat interesting and blatantly self-indulgent, this uneven memoir of Holland's nine years at Bellevue was worth a listen, but I really thought I'd like it more. I was really hoping to hear dozens of interesting stories about the human psyche through a doctor's eyes. There was some of that, but overall I found Holland's discussions of her turf battles with other egomanics, her sexual experimentations, and her crushes on other doctors all a bit disturbing and all a bit of blah, blah, blah. She evidently thinks that banter among doctors -- the sexual innuendo, the cutting remarks, the ego clashes -- is interesting, but it really just sounds like another day at the office for most of us, though I just admit that I was a bit surprised at the level of indescretion, immaturity, and overall childishness of some of her descriptions of her and her fellow psychiatrists' behavior. If you are looking for a book about office politics, I guess this is a pretty good one. If you are looking for a book about the human mind and behavior through the educated eyes of an experienced psychiatrist, then pass on this one.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Me & My Girls on 06-18-13

Rings so True

As a veteran of crisis mental health centers substance abuse treatment locations and Psyche ER's myself; I found myself nodding and acknowledging Dr. Hollands words about fifty times during the reading.
The adrenalized reaction in response to a confrontation. The words and reactions of the patients. A plethora of sad stories from patients on a regular basis. The "shelter" seekers; drug seekers; and the homeless addicts seeking "three hots and a cot" individuals.
Equally familiar was the hardness, cynicism, and burnout. The helplessness of their situations and the helplessness you feel about changing any of it. The widening distance between the needs of the patients and the lack of care most states are providing the mentally ill. The author's time at Bellevue ended in 05 and the situation has only become worse in the last eight years. The lack of available treatment; particularly in rural areas now is pathetic. Oops, I'm about to get off on a rant.
I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent narration of the author. In many cases this is enough to turn a well written manuscript into an unlistenable disaster. So it was with more than a little trepidation that I used a credit for this selection. As it turned out; Julie Holland was an excellent reader and did a lot to heighten the enjoyment of the audiobook. All-in-all this is one of the best non-fiction selections I've had with Audible.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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