Review: In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D.

In Stitches

Title: In Stitches

Author: Anthony Youn, MD (with Alan Eisenstock)

Genre/Pages: Memoir/288

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?


  1. I’m like you – I’d never say never, but I have no plans for any plastic surgery right now. I love doctor’s who don’t take themselves too seriously, so I’m looking forward to this book.

  2. nah, I am not tempted to do any nutty ‘pretty’ surgery; I am finally starting to like myself just the way I am. BUT, I used to want a nose job…

  3. I’ve never had any kind of surgery…and I don’t plan to! Knock on wood.

  4. I don’t plan on having surgery of any kind (knock wood) but gosh, I once said I’d never color my gray hair, but *that* vow was broken long ago.

  5. Interesting…
    I was thinking about having some work done.

  6. I heard about this book recently and I thought it sounded interesting – your review has convinced me I should give it a try! As for plastic surgery, it seems more appealin with each passing year!

  7. Thank you for the very nice comments about my book In Stitches. I am very proud of it and hope I’ve added something to the medical memoir genre that has never been seen before. Thanks again for reading!

  8. I love books about or by doctors and med school, and your review made this one sound really interesting – I think I’ll see about getting this on Kindle 😀

    I’d get some work done maybe in another 10 – 15 years, but for now, I’m pretty OK with how I look.

  9. Nat, I can’t believe you’re fascinated by surgery! I am the total opposite. Can’t even look at the screen during TV shows when it’s make believe! I have to turn my head when they draw blood, etc.

    That said, this does sound like a very interesting book. As long as I could skip the gruesome bits – think I’d be fine! LOL

  10. i love reading memoirs written by doctors about their adventures through med school. now that i’m in dental school i have a bigger understanding of what they go through. i’m going to have to add this one to my wishlist. it sounds too entertaining to miss.

  11. No I would never, ever have plastic surgery. I will grow old the way God wants me to, thank you very much, which appears to be happening very fast at this stage of my life. But I absolutely loved this review and am putting the book on my TBR list. I have a kid who is talking about medical school (to be a shrink, heaven help me, she’s going to analyze me for the rest of my life) and I think I need to learn more about the process of becoming a doctor.

  12. I just got this book in the mail. I am looking forward to reading it. For one, I wanted to be a doctor when I was in school, but I couldn’t afford it. It sucks when money interferes with your plans. My daughter wants to be a doctor though. She’s seven so that could change but she wants to be a pediatrician.

    I never though much of plastic surgery, but I have to tell you. My boobs could use a lift. I see little tiny, lines around my eyes now which people call “smile” lines but each morning the skin there droops a bit and takes half the day to snap back. I think in a few years, I will have that droopy bassett hound look. It won’t be pretty. So yeah, I could use a bit of touching up and would consider it

  13. Oh I so want to read this, it sounds fantastic! And I would totally get a breast reduction, liposuction and a nose job. I’m not proud!!!!

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