As art students, we can’t always relate to the woes of the typical academic student—let alone a student in the midst of med school.
Yet, Dr. Anthony Youn makes his first book “In Stitches: A Memoir” perfectly relatable, combining the woes of med school with the struggles consuming any young adult like parental pressure, dating mishaps and social anxiety.
“In Stitches” follows Tony, Dr. Youn’s alias, as he passes through grade school, college and into med school on his path to be a doctor. His fate is all but decided for him at an early age by his father, an OB/GYN, who claims that surgery is the only career that will guarantee Tony success.
Tony first doubts that since he would rather find a job with a comfortable lifestyle, but comes to respect his father’s decisions and pursues the path of medicine.
The book focuses primarily on Tony’s four years of graduate study, where his life truly began to change. After a lifetime of pursuing women that never once resulted in a date, his new friends finally give him the advice he needs to snag his first girlfriend. At the same time, he begins adjusting to the sleepless nights of medical school, learns to kiss up to evil professors and is left trying to squeeze a social life into the cracks.
When it comes time to decide what kind of doctor he ultimately wants to be, Tony finds himself at a loss. For a brief time, he thinks surgery isn’t the right path for him until he encounters a patient and a plastic surgeon that completely change his life.
The book is a lot more humorous than I originally suspected. Youn does not fail to describe parties, girls and drama. The story has the perfect amount of life mixed in with the impending doom college seems to create.
Tony’s social anxiety is something any reader can relate to. I felt sympathetic for Tony every time he bombs a date with a girl or gets into trouble with his father. His competitive nature in class is infectious, and I found myself cheering each time he achieved something worthwhile in academia.
When it finally began to boil down to what Tony would ultimately do with his life, I shared in his anxiety. He may have known he was going to be a doctor, but what kind of doctor was a completely different story. It’s just like how we have decided to be artists, but there are so many paths within art to choose from. The decision may come easy to some, but to others it can be a horrifying experience.
A lesson can be gleaned from Tony’s decision. One should not settle on something, as he almost did with family practice, but allow other options to become known, like his breathtaking experience with plastic surgery.
“In Stitches” is a hard book to put down. Tony’s story is full of twists and turns, high points and low points, that keep the reader invested in what happens next. Youn did an excellent job in breathing life into his memoir, making sure anyone, even art students, could connect to his experiences.Contact Kelsey Norden.