“If you need an appendectomy, he can do it with a stone scalpel he carved himself. If you have a condition nobody can diagnose—“creeping eruption” perhaps—he can identify what it is, and treat it. A baby with toe-tourniquet syndrome, a human leg that’s washed ashore, a horse with Lyme disease, a narcoleptic falling face-first in the street, a hermit living underground—hardly anything is off-limits for Dr. Timothy J. Lepore. This is the spirited, true story of a colorful, contrarian doctor on the world-famous island of Nantucket.” — netgalley
Island Practice by Pam Belluck is a nicely drawn biography of the infamous Dr. Lepore, the landmark doctor on Nantucket. Belluck writes with an overall sense of admiration for the doctor, even while describing some of his most controversial tactics. She makes it clear that the islanders feel this same admiration. The reader, however, might not. Dr. Lepore may make house calls and deliver emergency C-Sections, but he also allows islanders to live in underground caves and have sex with animals. Whether you like him or not, however, Dr. Lepore is an engaging and eccentric character, and one well worthy of a biography.
Belluck has certainly done her homework. Her interviews with key figures are short and to the point, and perfectly placed. She does a great job recounting each one of the sometimes strange, sometimes heroic situations the doctor finds himself in. Her readers are sure to come away with an entirely different image of Nantucket. In fact, it’s almost impossible to recognize the Nantucket of the uber-wealthy summer goers inside these pages.
Island Practice is part survival guide, part snap shot of one of the most beautiful and unique places in America. I chose to review this book because my father was raised on Nantucket and my grandmother lived on the island until her dying day. An uncle and cousin still reside year-round and I imagine remain ever grateful for Dr. Lepore.