Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Charming Story Well Told

...that's what Kirkus Reviews calls my book Dottoressa: An American Doctor in Rome, which is rolling off the presses as we speak.😃
Here are some of the specifics that caught the reviewer’s attention:
“. . . One of the first words to learn, she writes, was “pazienza,” or “patience squared,” which is “often invoked as a gentle reprimand for a foreigner’s loss of cool” and “extends beyond the prosaic ‘keep waiting’ to the philosophical.” . . . After finally gaining the official title of Dottoressa, waiting for the sole calligrapher to produce her diploma took nearly two decades. . . . The most interesting part of the book is the author’s descriptions of her alternating admiration and horror at Italian medical practices . . . Doctors almost never touch their patients, but they always listen to every word. Though they write prescriptions, the pharmacist can and will substitute another drug . . . Levenstein also demonstrates how well universal health coverage works. Italians live some of the longest, healthiest lives of anyone on the planet, mostly due to diet, accessible care, and even distribution of wealth. The author gives many illuminating examples of patient encounters . . .”


  1. I’m a retired American nurse who has been living in Rome for the last 3 years. I agree with Dr. Levenstein’s assessment of why Italians are healthier than Americans. She gave mention of the strength of family ties which I feel is very important, but I’ve also been struck by the warmth and importance of their friendships, relationships, and how much they live in the moment, laugh, and enjoy life. Now visiting back in the states I believe Americans have lost a lot of their family structure, I see isolation and loneliness. These, to me, are very distinct differences between Americans and Italians, and if betting, has a lot to do with why Italians are healthier. Italy, of course, has its financial problems, but I couldn’t imagine seeing an ‘opioid’ crisis in Italy, no more than I could see mass shootings there. These factors can’t be ignored.

    1. Thanks so much Diane, every word you say is right on (and it happens that I go into all those subjects in some detail in my book). One of the saddest statistics I've seen lately was in yesterday's papers: fewer than half of Americans age 18 to 34 have a spouse, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or other partner.