Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

God’s Hotel, by Victoria Sweet is a thought provoking read for anyone interested in healthcare, whether as a medical doctor, nurse, patient or through holistic medicine. In her account of her over 20 years at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, Dr. Sweet seems to cover all of the bases.

While working at the hospital, Dr. Sweet was also studying the pre-modern medicine of a 12th century nun named Hildegard. Hildegard’s medicine was closer to what we may consider holistic or eastern medicine, and is what Dr. Sweet deems as “slow medicine.” It is neat to see how these studies influenced Dr. Sweet’s own practice of medicine and care for her patients at Laguna Honda (a hospital that provided long term care for those who could not afford healthcare).

Despite the fact that the personal, “slow medicine” techniques that wove their way into Dr. Sweet’s practice saved many patients from unneeded medicines, thus saving the state money, the HMO system that worked its way in to the hospital did not have time for it. God’s Hotel not only shows the developing of a doctor’s character over a 20 year span, but also the HMO take over of the hospital where she practiced, and how inefficient their efficiency plans often are.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Riverhead. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.