As a psychology major, I was rather excited to have the opportunity to review The Kitchen Shrink by Dora Wang. Amazon’s editorial reviews describe this book as a memoir about the author’s mission to rediscover her passion for her profession amid the changes the medical profession has gone through to become the “health care industry”.
However, I found The Kitchen Shrink to be less a memoir and more a dissertation on the consequences of deregulating health care in the 1980s. Yes, there were personal memories divulged in the book. We follow Dr. Wang’s career from resident to chief of the Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service at the University of New Mexico Hospital. We even follow her personal life from single to married to motherhood. What little she wrote of her experiences and patients is thought provoking. It was interesting to see her concerns about the needs of her patients versus her frustration with the changing system. However, it was a bit disconcerting to read the author’s note at the end which stated that not just the names were changed, but the people themselves were composites of many colleagues or patients – which seemed odd.
What I enjoyed less was the fact that the majority of this memoir is a history of health care in America. Dr. Wang discusses at length the consequences of changing from a doctor-patient relationship, to the for-profit system we see today. While our current health care system is in a very dysfunctional state, and everyone can relate to issues with insurance companies, I was disappointed that she didn’t spend more time on her memories and experiences in the profession.
If you’re looking for an in-depth look at what has gone wrong in our health care system, The Kitchen Shrink may be worth reading. If you’re looking for a personal memoir, I would pass this one up.
This book was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.