Review: In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D.
Title: In Stitches
Publisher: Gallery (Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Rating: 3.5 Bookmarks
Source: Sneak Attack Media
Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: An educational and amusing account of one man’s journey to adulthood and his career as a plastic surgeon.
I’ll preface this review by saying that plastic surgery, or surgery in general, captivates me. I remember childhood nights spent with my dad watching NOVA specials on a vast array of surgeries. This was in the early and mid-80s, long before programs like these were normal fare on television. I especially relished surgeries that helped deformed children have a shot at more natural looking features. It amazed me that there were doctors–artists, really–who were able to craft new features from flaps of skin from other parts of the body. When In Stitches was offered to me for review, I snapped it up without hesitation!
Growing up in a strict Korean-American household, Anthony Youn’s career path was determined at an early age…by his father. His dad, an OB-GYN, essentially decreed that Anthony and his older brother would follow in his footsteps and take the Hippocratic oath. Anthony, who equally feared and revered his father, contemplated other avenues but ultimately found himself working himself to a frazzle in medical school.
To me, medical school is the stuff of legend. I’ve heard third and fourth-hand tales of sleep deprivation, grueling schedules, taxing classes and exams that would rattle the most scholarly. I have a cousin who seemingly disappeared from the annual Christmas dinner table for nearly 12 years because she was off becoming a doctor.
Nothing I’d heard remotely prepared me for the details Dr. Youn offered. Naively, I assumed that getting into medical school is the hard part! Dr. Youn set me straight with anecdotes that were both hilarious and frightening of his years in medical school, rotations, and getting into his residency program. Youn vividly describes one of the defining moments that led him to plastic surgery as his specialty.
The memoir also examines relationships–parent and child, friendship, and romantic–and I found myself charmed by Youn’s closest friends at school. I empathized with his struggles to get a date, or even just a bit of snogging! It’s clear that while Youn’s dad was very demanding, he does love his children fiercely. While it wasn’t quite shades of the “Tiger Mother”, the elder Dr. Youn did cancel Christmas for his two sons one year when Tony’s older brother pulled mostly Bs on his college report card.
Dr. Youn navigates his way through adolescence, college, and medical school in 288 pages. The writing was entertaining, the anecdotes were amusing, and overall, In Stitches was a fun read. He comes across the page (and on his book trailer on Youtube) as affable, self-deprecating, and genuine. He’s been a frequent guest on Rachel Ray’s talk show and interned at a plastic surgeon’s office in the Mecca of plastic surgery, Beverly Hills. As a follow up to reading this memoir, I spent a solid half-hour admiring Dr. Youn’s handiwork on his website–I love surgical before and after photos.
I’ve never had any plastic surgery myself, but know someone who has had a face lift, breast reduction and lift, and tummy tuck. She looks amazing and feels great. I’m on the fence about ever going under the knife for elective surgery but won’t discount the idea totally–nothing drastic or invasive, but maybe something to freshen me up in 10 or 15 years! Maybe I’ll give Dr. Youn a call.
How about you? Would you consider a brow lift, tummy tuck, or any other procedure?