With a Foreword by Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the bestseller In the Heart of the Sea
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. Thirty miles out to sea, in a strikingly offbeat place known for wealthy summer people but also home to independent-minded, idiosyncratic year-rounders, Lepore holds the life of the island, often quite literally, in his hands. He’s surgeon, medical examiner, football team doctor, tick expert, unofficial psychologist, accidental homicide detective, occasional veterinarian. When crisis strikes, he’s deeply involved.
He’s treated Jimmy Buffett, Chris Matthews, and various Kennedy relatives, but he makes house calls for anyone and lets people pay him nothing—or anything: oatmeal raisin cookies, a weather-beaten .44 Magnum, a picture of a Nepalese shaman.
Lepore can be controversial and contradictory, espousing conservative views while performing abortions and giving patients marijuana cookies. He has unusual hobbies: he’s a gun fanatic, roadkill collector, and concocter of pastimes like knitting dog-hair sweaters.
Ultimately, Island Practice is about a doctor utterly essential to a community at a time when medicine is increasingly money-driven and impersonal. Can he remain a maverick even as a healthcare chain subsumes his hospital? Every community has—or, some would say, needs—a Doctor Lepore, and his island’s drive to retain individuality in a cookie-cutter world is echoed across the country.
About the Author
Pam Belluck has been a staff writer for the New York Times for more than fifteen years, during which she has written about everything from cattle rustling to embryo adoption, reported from places as diverse as Medellin, Colombia, and Seongham, South Korea. She served for more than a decade as national bureau chief, covering some of the biggest stories for the paper. She is currently a health and medical writer for the Times. She has won several awards, a Knight Fellowship, and a Fulbright Scholarship.
Through the improbable story of an eccentric and intensely creative Nantucket doctorthe man has operated with flints!Pam Belluck has crafted an elegant and wildly entertaining depiction of the struggle to maintain humanity and empathy in the face of health care 's ongoing industrialization. A natural storyteller with a reporter's eye for detail and a stand-up comic's dry wit, Belluck leaves the reader with an urge to feign illness just to have an excuse to visit her subject. A truly wonderful read.”Warren St. John, author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer and Outcasts United
If you want to understand the real' Nantucket, you must read Island Practice. Dr. Tim Lepore personifies the island's fierce, quirky, and independent spirit. This is a book about an extraordinary mana doctor, yes, but also a community hero. His story is as engrossing as the best fiction . . . but it's all true.”Elin Hilderbrand, author of Silver Girl and other novels
[An] absorbing debut. . . . An intriguing biography of a uniqueand on Nantucket, irreplaceabledoctor.”Kirkus
Page-turning prose. . . . Inspiring and entertaining, Lepore 's story and his beloved island come to life in Belluck's hands.”Publisher's Weekly
If you were as entranced as I was with John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, you'll find similar pleasures in Island Practice.”Huntington News
Much in this book by Pam Belluck comes as a revelation. Some of it is fascinating; some of it is hilarious; and some of it is sad and very troubling. In Island Practice, Belluck has created a remarkable portrait of a physician and the island community to which he remains steadfastly devoted.”from the Foreword by Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and The Last Stand
Pam Belluck has dissected the antics and heroism of a Nantucket doctor who doubles as the resident wizard. This physician not only makes house calls (even to tree-houses), but also invites patients to drop in at his house for treatment. If you suffer from Nantucket Feveror any other ill while on that islandDr. Tim Lepore is your man.”Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter
[Belluck is] an energetic reporter who found in Lepore an irresistible subject.”New York Times Book Review
A fun profile of Nantucket's gun-toting, marijuana-prescribing, house-call-making local doc.”People magazine
Throughout, Belluck's prose is beautiful and lyrical . . . the Lepore she gives us is a fascinating character.”Boston Globe
Island Practice is a thorough dissection of a man doing his best to stand up to impersonal twenty-first-century medical practices. . . . What's more, the book sketches a complex portrait of Nantucket itselfthe stuff you won't see in Frommer'sthat makes you glad that at least one guy is ready for anything.”Minneapolis Star Tribune
[I]ntriguing cases handled by Lepore are described in the new book Island Practice, written by Pam Belluck, a New York Times health writer.”msnbc.com
New York Times writer Pam Belluck . . . clearly knew great material when she found it.”Nantucket Chronicle
Island Practice gives readers an inside look at the peculiar challenges of health care on the island while reflecting on those that all communities face.”Boston Globe's White Coat Notes”
A vibrant, throbbing, and sometimes painful book about life on an island and all the messiness that goes along with helping people through hard times if you're the local doctor. . . . Island Practice is chock full of colorful anecdotes of island life, humor, empathy, color ful and sometimes X-rated medical emergencies, and the mundane that make up the life of a country, or island, doctor.”Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror
Funny, startling, and sobering by turns.”Columbus Dispatch
This is a riveting portrait of a dynamic, headstrong physician. Medical nonfiction fans will find much to enjoy. Lepore may remind readers of Dr. Paul Farmer from Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains.”Library Journal
Thank goodness for writers like Pam Belluck who, in Island Practice, presents Dr. Tim Lepore, a cross between Marcus Welby and Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H fame. . . . Island Practice is a work of evocative imagery and human description. It is readable, captivating, and almost cautionary in its description of what we have lost in today's world of medicine. Author Pam Belluck has integrated medical, personal, and family issues into a fascinating portrait of a remarkable man.”New York Journal of Books