#BookReview “The White Coat Diaries” by Madi Sinha


3.5/5 Stars

Not sure how I feel about this story.

On one hand, I like to see growth in characters through, and by the end of the story, and Norah Kapadia did evolve. Albeit, for me, it was lukewarm.

On the other hand, for someone who graduated with honors at the top of her med school class, Norah always seemed lukewarm. It would have been nice to see some of the confidence that helped her get the Philadelphia General internship throughout the story.

While doctors “react” to the physical/mental health issues of patients by diagnosis and treatment, reactionary was how Norah lived her life. To her family, her culture, her coworkers. Even her decision to go into medicine was to get closer to and understand her workaholic pediatrician father who died in a car accident when she was young.

But for me, Norah’s biggest faux pas was her reactions to her own assumptions. Norah was not the cause of some of the situations she found herself in, but her reactions made them worse. People around her played roles in her life while she had no active role. Had she been more present, things would have gone differently with Meryl, Ethan, Gabe, and maybe even Stuart.

To be fair, Norah admits to being non-confrontational and a bit of a doormat, and this only leads to her being overruled by family and coworkers and bullied into doing things she doesn’t want to.

Norah never speaks ill of her desi heritage, but readily admits the traditions are not for her. She wants more than an arranged marriage with a rich husband, however, instead of being a firm conviction, it’s a recurring theme her family makes fun of and disrespects. When Norah finds her spine and speaks up, it’s out of anger, over-the-top, and at the wrong time.

However, when Norah decides to follow her conscious regardless of the consequences, I applaud her. I have a problem with her timeliness, but even in that, I must give her credit for finally being true to herself.

Though Norah’s journey is cautionary, it is a transparent gaze into the hospital hierarchy of interns, residents, and attending physicians.

And it’s not a good look when career aspirations are put ahead of patient lives.

But The White Coat Diaries is a good look past the medical profession into the personalities and motivations of future doctors and their mentors, and what… and who they’re willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals.


REVIEWER’S NOTE: As a rule, I don’t read posted reviews of books I intend to review. It’s been several months since I received and read this ARC from Netgalley, but the lateness of my post has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my personal life.

That being said, I’ve recently learned of controversy involving the book’s author and another reviewer. While I won’t go into details, I will say I do not agree with or condone the author’s actions, but I also don’t agree with the 1-star reviews posted in protest. The internet and social media offer too many other options for voicing one’s opinion and hijacking a review thread of a book that has not been read simply shouldn’t be one of them. FD

Grey’s Anatomy meets Scrubs in this brilliant debut novel about a young doctor’s struggle to survive residency, love, and life. 

Having spent the last twenty-something years with her nose in a textbook, brilliant and driven Norah Kapadia has just landed the medical residency of her dreams. But after a disastrous first day, she’s ready to quit. Disgruntled patients, sleep deprivation, and her duty to be the “perfect Indian daughter” have her questioning her future as a doctor.

Enter chief resident Ethan Cantor. He’s everything Norah aspires to be: respected by the attending physicians, calm during emergencies, and charismatic with his patients. And as he morphs from Norah’s mentor to something more, it seems her luck is finally changing.

But when a fatal medical mistake is made, pulling Norah into a cover-up, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the secret. What if “doing no harm” means putting herself at risk?



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