Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Faculty raved about the group as though the residency program had won the lottery, nicknaming them 'The Golden Class,' but would Stern ever prove that he belonged? In his memoir, Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lessons he and his fellow doctors learned while studying the human condition, and ultimately, the value of connection.
This book is a fascinating look at the inside of a medical residency, and it offers a glimpse of many of the often-understated personal costs involved ... Readers who have also experienced the vigor of professional academic training will find Stern’s account familiar and satisfying, while those who haven’t will get a rare and insightful glimpse into the many potential struggles involved. Stern’s book is written in a brutally honest, often self-effacing tone. Readers will ultimately emerge feeling triumphant alongside Stern, who over the course of the book finds love and professional success and satisfaction, despite the challenges he faced during residency and the beginning of his medical career.
... a series of annoying humble brags...permeate this book. It’s a form of self-deprecating humor except that it’s not self-deprecating and, come to think of it, it’s not really humor, either. Dr. Stern sets himself up time and again with thoughts of inadequacy and, when he succeeds, we’re supposed to be as surprised as he is ... That’s not to say this memoir is without merit. Dr. Stern’s humanity and his ability to write about his suffering patients saves the day and makes the memoir an intellectual page-turner ... Dr. Stern writes humanely about his interactions with patients such as Jane, who suffers from anorexia nervosa ... it’s easy to come away from this memoir wondering if, instead of spending all that money on therapy, one might be just as well served heading to a nearby bar to hear the wisdom of barstool gurus.
As the author vividly captures the urgency, chaos, and eerie fascination involved with the treatment of mental illness, he also candidly shares numerous patient portraits, which provide some of the most moving and disturbing moments in the book ... The combination of patient case studies and medical trainee journal creates an intense reading experience and an eye-opening appreciation for medical professionals charged with psychiatric care. Residents and those contemplating a career in mental health will find much to glean from this spirited memoir of dedication and dogged determination. Engrossing, indelible, and brimming with genuine humanity.