Capsule reviews

Sorry – I’ve been extremely busy so far this week, so two capsule reviews for you of what I’ve read recently …

Marching Powder by Rusty Young

This follows the incarceration of a young black Englishman in Bolivia’s San Pedro prison for drug-trafficking. I would not have got this book if my book group hadn’t picked it. A totally corrupt system, where everything is for sale leads to a bizarre type of jail; it seemed more like living in the wrong part of town, with gates to me. I didn’t see any repentance either from the prisoner Thomas for whom drugs were just a business – so making a moral judgement I didn’t care for the book, but it was mostly an interesting read.

Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor by Max Pemberton.

Pemberton has written a great column for the Telegraph since he graduated from medical school – I look forward to reading it every week.

This volume from his diaries covers his first year as a junior doctor. It should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to study medicine, as it shows that junior doctors still work unbelievably hard, and there are many hard times when one might question ‘Why am I doing this?’. Max and his colleagues get through it and grow immeasurably during the year. Max is also a staunch defender of the NHS, and argues eloquently against many of the money-pinching policies that downgrade patients’ medical care. It’s candid, funny and shows that he cares. Volume 2 entitled Where does it hurt? is due out in a few months.

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