In March 2020, soon-to-graduate medical students in New York City were nervously awaiting “match day” when they would learn where they would begin their residencies. Only a week later, these young physicians learned that they would be sent to the front lines of the desperate battle to save lives as the coronavirus plunged the city into crisis
This is the kind of story that gives life to books about medical training. Unfortunately, there are too few of them here. The back story of the various characters takes too long. Drawn-out digressions on medical racism or the history of the internship system further disrupt the narrative flow. By the time we get to the wards, the book is nearly a third over. Goldberg would have done better, I think, to start the book when the internships begin and fill in the back story later. How Gabriella’s mother started her hair salon isn’t as interesting to us as the sounds, smells and action on the front lines ... When the action does begin, the stories are often truncated. We thirst for more details. We want to know more about what these young doctors were thinking in life-or-death situations. We yearn for a glimpse into their souls as they come of age in their new profession. On this measure, the book falls a bit short ... Still, I believe the book is a valuable chronicle of what interns and residents went through fighting the pandemic this past year.
Memorable, emotional, and even everyday anecdotes fill the pages ... Goldberg’s close-up look at inspiring, fast-tracked med-school graduates who became essential front-line pandemic physicians is bracing and invaluable. Still with lots to learn, these heroes already have so much to offer.
... vivid and heart-wrenching ... offers poignant scenes of her subjects coming to grips with the life and death nature of their work. This is a raw and emotional depiction of young professionals thrust into the middle of a crisis.