Book Review on Beyond the Gradies: Humor In Small Town Surgical Practice by Jon Traer M.D.
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For those of you who have already read "Going to the Gradies", you will certainly want to read Dr. Jon Traer's second book, "Beyong the Gradies," which follows Dr. Mark Telfair and his nurse wife Anne from the end of his time at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta to his career as a doctor serving in the Air Force. Once his tour of duty is over with the military, Dr. Telfair and his wife head to a small town in Georgia where he becomes a general surgeon as a private physician. This book is humurous, just as the first one was. There are heartwarming stories of citizens in his hew hometown and how they warm up to the Telfairs. Insight is given into the interworkings of a very good small town hospital and all of the drama that happens there. I found this book to be very entertaining and I absolutely love the "politically incorrect" language that we Southerners understand perfectly. I am anxiously awaiting the third book in this series from Dr. Traer which will cover his retirement years with his wife on the coast.
In his second book author Dr. Jon Traer reveals more humorous anecdotes involving Dr. Mark Telfair in his small town medical practice. The characters are lively, unforgettable, prank-playing, loving, and generous. The anecdotes are hilarious, and the people he befriends are helpful and trusting, though some like to play pranks on him.
Dr. Telfair's mettle is tested soon after his arrival by having to perform emergency surgery on a prominent family's child in Statesville instead of transferring the patient to a larger medical center as had been the usual practice. He becomes an overnight hero as a result. His close friend and fellow Grady-trained surgeon partner up to raise the standards of medical care available to his friends, neighbors, and patients in Statesville. His practice suffers the ever-present threat of lawsuit for frivolous causes. A centenarian black lady is operated on and recovers miraculously to becomes his favorite friend, loyally sharing her garden produce with him, only to fatally fall from a ladder up in tree where she was shaking pecans down to share with him. Her death and the deaths of his senior partner, and soon after his next door neighbor, sadly affect him and Ann his wife. For a rest and recuperation period he goes fishing on the Georgia coast and discovers the pleasant life of fishermen around Darien,Georgia where he retires.
Having been a physician in a small town (Metter,Georgia) practice for 40 years I identify very closely with Dr. Telfair's experiences, and echo the soul satisfying feeling of serving humanity where it is most needed.
More kudos to the author for again ignoring politicial correctness, as he did in his first book, and penning the language as it is pronounced and uttered, preserving the beauty and richness of the idioms and sounds of the South.
Leon E. Curry, M.D.
Fans of Dr. Traer's first novel, Going to the Gradies, will definitely enjoy part two in this charming series, starring Dr. Mark Telfair and his nurse-wife Anne. Beyond the Gradies opens with Dr. Telfair's final days in the Air Force as he and Anne are contemplating where to go next. When Dr. Telfair's mother suggests that Statesville, Georgia may be the perfect place for Mark to start his own practice, the Doc and his wife find an almost impossibly perfect small Southern town. Not only is this town filled with real people and crazy characters alike, the challenges and triumphs in their lives are both hilarious and engaging.
While this book shifts from the fast-paced world of the Gradies to the quaint town of Statesville, the excellent storytelling and humor characteristic of the first book in the series return in copious quantities. Both new and old characters enter (and leave) the lives of Dr. Telfair and Anne as they build their lives in Statesville. The bittersweet ending of this strong second installment of the series definitely makes this novel a "must buy" for anyone with an appreciation for the humor inherent in the medical profession and in mankind. I eagerly await the next entry in this enjoyable series.
Wonderful book about small town living. This book will bring back the "days gone by" of your youth if you grew up anywhere in the South. I am sure the same characters could be found in any small rural town, the names may change but the personalities are still the same. I highly recommend this book for its humor and its heart-warming recollection of the past.