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Friday, May 4, 2012

Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta, 2012, * * *

In this novel, Sanjay Gupta, the ubiquitous CNN senior medical correspondent, practicing neurosurgeon, and frequent reporter on 60 Minutes takes readers into the closed-door meetings known as  mortality and morbility conferences (M&Ms)  where doctors are called to review the death or near death of a patient. Monday Mornings, the book's title, are when the M&M conferences for surgery occur at the unforgiving hour of 6:00 AM at fictional Chelsea Hospital. Like Icarus, full of hubris, these physicians fly too high and too close to the sun's searing rays.  Down is the only direction when that happens.  In other words, there is no shortage of dramatic cases gone awry to summon the bleary doctors to face the unsparing critique of their peers in the Monday morning meetings.  The book's moral tale is no less forceful.There is a great deal of human carnage by the end of the novel, with no major protagonist spared.  The plot follows five surgeons both inside and outside of the hospital. The parts of the books that "pulled back the curtain" on M&M meetings were really good because Gupta is a surgeon himself.  However, his character development was less than stellar, and some of the characters are just two dimensional, if not one-dimensional. Additionally, it feels like the ending is sewn together a little too neatly in order to bring the novel to a close.  It does, however, sound like a good TV show and shooting for Chelsea General begins soon, starring Alfred Molina and Ving Rhames and produced by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal).

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