Monday, May 16, 2011

In Stitches by Anthony Youn, MD

In StitchesFrom Goodreads:

Scrubs meets David Sedaris in this hilarious fish-out-of-water memoir about a young Korean-American nerd turned renowned plastic surgeon. 
Dr. Tony Youn grew up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town where diversity was uncommon. Too tall and too thin, he wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, Hannibal Lecter headgear, and had a protruding jaw that one day began to grow, expanding to an unthinkable, monstrous size. After high school graduation, while other seniors partied at the beach or explored Europe, Youn lay strapped in an oral surgeon’s chair where he underwent a life-changing jaw reconstruction. Ironically, it was this brutal makeover that led him to his life’s calling, and he continued on to endure the four horrific, hilarious, sex-starved, and tension-filled years that eventually earned him an M.D. Offering a window into a side of medicine that most people never see, Youn shares his bumpy journey from a shy, skinny, awkward nerd into a renowned and successful plastic surgeon.  
Now, Youn is the media’s go-to plastic surgeon. He appears regularly on The Rachael Ray Show, and his blog, Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, is widely read and the most popular blog by a plastic surgeon in the country. But it was a long road to success, and In Stitches recounts Dr. Youn’s misfit adolescence and his four tumultuous years in medical school with striking wit, heart, and humility.  
For anyone who has ever experienced the awkward teenage years, who has struggled to find his or her way in college, who has been worried that their “calling” would never come, who wants to believe that their doctor really cares, or is just ready for a read that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, this book is for you.
Ever wonder why your doctor became... well, a doctor? This is a memoir of Tony Youn, MD and how and why he became a doctor of plastic surgery. He starts the memoir at 2 days old where his father, a "baby doctor" declares that he will become a doctor as well. Even though his mother admonishes him to at least wait until the second week of life to declare his son's profession, she knows that his father will not be denied. So, Tony grows up with the knowledge that he will be a doctor no matter what since he is loathe to disappoint his father. As he grows he also feels awkward as a teen and has his real first brush with what corrective surgery can do for a person. The person is Tony and he has his overgrown jaw broken twice so he could look more normal. The mantra of teenage-dom.

Of course we follow him though college and finally to his residency. Along the way we see epiphanies in which he finds that he really does want to be a doctor and why. This is also where the humor for me really picks up. When a disfigured child is brought into the NICU he is fascinated with how the plastic surgeon thinks and what he believes he can change for the child. This starts Tony on his way to becoming the surgeon he wants to be. It also becomes very surreal in some ways because of all the different doctors and administrators he encounters.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. If you ever thought of becoming a doctor... or like me... knows someone who wants to be one (she will get this book from me), I think this is a great memoir to give them. I think they will connect to it even more than I did.

I was given this book from the publisher, Simon & Schuster and no compensation for my review was given.


  1. I wanted to become a doctor myself. Fortunately there are some other doctors in my family and they showed me the uglier side of this profession. I decided it is not my thing and I think I was right. An interesting book, though, I would like to check it out!

  2. I saw him talking about this book on the Rachael Ray Show and thought it sounded really interesting. I always enjoy his segments on that show and think he seems like a really down-to-earth guy despite the fact that he works in a field that is so often not associated with down-to-earth people.

  3. I don't read too many memoirs, but this one does sound really fascinating. I could never be a doctor (super squeamish about anything relating to the body), but I like to read about all things medical:) Thanks for the review Melissa!

  4. I'm not a biography/memoir type chick... But this one sounds good!

  5. Wow I'm in awe that you take on memoirs. I can't. Just like I can't read series books out of order.

    You baffle me, woman!

  6. I have to admit I don't like biographies/memoirs either - I like my books to be fictional! Still it's an interesting to way to become a doctor! :)

  7. Yes definitely having one of those nothing suits me days.

    Just not for me

  8. @anachronist... same here about being a veterinarian. You might enjoy this one.

    @Beth S... well, since some of the work is not just to improve on something that doesn't need it and does lead to reconstruction of painful problems, that makes it more interesting. So, I think I'm with you there.

    @Jenny...hee hee... no bed pans for either of us! :P

    @Bookish... I'm not much, but it sounded so good for a cousin of mine, I had to check it out!

    @Missie... *blushes* I live to baffle! ;D

    @Mel... It just depends on the memoir. I've read a few that were just engaging. Not many, but a few!

    @Blodeuedd... No probs. We won't force you to read this one... this time! ;)

  9. Though this isn't my typical read I do think that it sounds pretty interesting... I will have to tune into the Rachel Ray show and see if I can watch him on it!

  10. I think I would enjoy this despite that I normal don't read memoirs.

  11. Very nice review. But it's not really the book for me. :) Thank you!

  12. I've only read a few memoirs, mostly cause most failed to grab me. But some do. Thanks for the review!

  13. @Avery... oh, make me something delish while you are at it. ;)

    @Liz... I know some memoirs are dry. This one isn't tho.

    @Melissa... no blood and guts. Well, much.. lol

    @Savannah...I know how you feel. I'm the same way.

  14. This is only the 2nd review I've read on this one and I'm not really sure this is one for me.

  15. I love memoirs because there is something great about being able to glimpse into other people's lives. Also, yes I wonder how someone chooses to be a dr and then chooses what type of dr to be. I mean, does anyone really grow up going I want to look at eyes, teeth, vulvas, ect? I may need to check this out :)


Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!