Monday, May 16, 2011 Posted by Dina N
Tony Youn learned early on that cool has a short shelf life. One of two Asian-American kids in a small Midwestern town, he was tall and thin with Coke-bottle glasses, Hannibal Lecter headgear, a bowl cut, and a protruding jaw that grew even faster than his comic-book collection.
He spent weekends doing homework and playing tennis with his Korean father, who decreed his son would be successful only if he became a surgeon: “Doctor never get fired.” All Tony ever wanted was to fit in. He finally got his chance when, as his friends ended senior year in a flurry of parties, he lay strapped in an oral surgeon’s chair having his jaw broken and reset. It was a brutal makeover that led him to his calling — making him realize how changing your appearance can so profoundly affect your life.
In this humorous and heartwarming memoir, Tony shares how the angst, the flubs, the triumphs, the nonstop studying, the intermittent heavy drinking, the sexual frustration, and the dear friends of the next four years helped him resurrect his confidence and find his true self. He entered medical school a shy, skinny nerd with no nerve, no game, and no clue. He left a plastic surgeon.
In Stitches follows the journey of a young Korean American who dutifully complies with his father's wish that he become a doctor. Smart, funny and self-deprecating, Tony Youn tells it as it is. From his awkward childhood to the endless years at medical school, Tony's memoir is honest and engaging, alternating between the moving and the hilarious. He discovers his passion for medicine step by step, starting off as an unwilling participant and ending up as a dedicated adult who has found his calling.
Some parts of the book focus too much on Tony's frustration with his inability to get girls to go out with him. Although I felt he could have proven his point more succinctly, I forgave him quickly. The awkwardness of his youth is part of who he is, and Tony's hard work and dedication get him where he deserves to be at the end. His story would not be as heartwarming and unique without all the moving moments he shared with his patients - and with his readers. For that, I give his memoir an A.
In Stitches was released by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, on April 26. The memoir is available on Amazon.com and at other book retailers.
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Photo and book info courtesy of the publisher.