Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Review: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

I read this book back in March and had wanted to do a review, but I had accidentally returned it to the library. I listed it in my reading post for March and was pleasantly surprised when the author, Carolyn Jourdan, had left me a comment. Since I had really enjoyed the book I reordered it from the library, reread it (told you I enjoyed it) and here, finally is my review.


Heart in the Right Place is a memoir by Carolyn Jourdan. I find memoirs fall into two catagories: either a great read or a horrible one. I happened to be reading another memoir that fell into the latter catagory, finally in disgust I threw the it down and reached beside my bed and brought up Heart in the Right Place. I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find that it fell into the first catagory. In fact, that night I read half the book. Here is Amazon's product description:

Carolyn Jourdan had it all: the Mercedes Benz, the fancy soirees, the best clothes. She moved in the most exclusive circles in Washington, D.C., rubbed elbows with big politicians, and worked on Capitol Hill. As far as she was concerned, she was changing the world.

And then her mother had a heart attack. Carolyn came home to help her father with his rural medical practice in the Tennessee mountains. She'd fill in for a few days as the receptionist until her mother could return to work. Or so she thought. But days turned into weeks.

Her job now included following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; distinguishing between a "pain," a "strain," and a "sprain" on indecipherable Medicare forms; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits were never billed.

Eventually, Jourdan gave up her Mercedes and made do with a twenty-year-old postal jeep. She shed her suits for scrubs. And the funny thing was, she liked her new life. As she watched her father work tirelessly and uncomplainingly, she saw what making a difference really meant: being on call all hours of the day and night, tolerating the local drug addict's frequent phone calls, truly listening to Miss Hiawatha. It meant just showing up, every day, and taking care of every person in Strawberry Plains and beyond, whether he got paid to do it or not. And for his daughter, it meant learning that her real place to change the world was right here—in her hometown—by her father's side.

This was a laugh out loud read, but also it shows the realness of life. I was drawn into her world and into her struggle between helping her parents and people of her community and her desire to be back in Washington D.C. This was a very heartwarming read and I thoroughly enjoed it. Highly recommended!

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