The Big Prick
by Michael Godin
Uncommon Sense Publishing

"Your basic humanity is going to be tested this year. Hold onto it. It’s what will get you through."

It’s June 1986, and Nick Jordan has just graduated from a New Orleans medical school and is headed west to San Diego to start a one-year internship. The AIDS epidemic is in full bloom, killing gay men and IV drug users relentlessly, while medical personnel face the challenge to remain safe from accidental needle sticks. The problem will punctuate Nick’s internship with uncertainty sooner than he anticipates. As he experiences his assigned rotations in various hospital services, including his desired path in head and neck surgery, he encounters every variable of human and human behavior possible. Nick and his fellow interns’ empathy, patience, physical endurance, and emerging medical skills are tested to the max and then some. On his first night on call in the ER, Nick faces his patient’s impending mortality with both trepidation and grace, working for the first time with a pretty intern who just might be the potential love of his life.

No doubt Godin drew upon his biographical background to pen this novel because the authentic medical details and fine-tuned attention to setting go above and beyond what research and imagination can yield. Tight writing, wry humor, and savvy character development keep the entertaining story moving at a comfortable clip. There’s always soaring tension in the literal life-and-death world of a hospital, and the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic makes the conflict and pathos in this tale a certainty. Godin handles the rollercoaster of Nick Jordan’s and his colleagues’ internships with firm resolve but a light touch. Despite the trials, tribulations, and doubts that accompany the momentous task of becoming a good doctor, and the challenge of crafting this array of complex events and emotions in prose, both protagonist and author persevere to make this contribution to the medical drama genre fresh again.

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