Five Days at Memorial

Thoughts fdambysf Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, Random House Audio 2013, 17 hours 33 minutes

Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

This was selected for January by my Massachusetts Book Club. I was quite excited to read this (even though I will be missing the book club meeting due to my moving south. #sad)

This book is really amazing in depicting the horrors of practicing medicine during Hurricane Katrina. The conditions were awful. No one was prepared. I wanted to cry in the first few chapters. Ok, I admit it, I did cry.

READ THIS if you are curious about what happened at Memorial Hospital and how bad it really was.

READ THIS if you are concerned about Emergency Preparedness.

READ THIS if you enjoy (?) …  fascinated with Medical Quandaries.

Perhaps you saw that I rated this three stars in goodreads; you might be curious what I didn’t like. Relax, I still liked it. Do not think that my three slices of pie means that it was only OK. That would be a two star rating. A three star rating is one where I mostly enjoyed it, was impressed with it overall but just found it didn’t quite knock the socks off.

First, I must state that I wish I hadn’t listened to this. The audiobook format was not the best medium for this book, FOR ME. I usually listen while driving so it is inconvenient and unsafe for me to fiddle with my phone to replay if my attention lapses or I wonder about something; it’s highly unlikely I will replay to find some answer to a question when I get confused. And once confused, I miss the stuff that is playing during the time I was contemplating the stuff I just listened to in the moment just passed.



Second, I’ve mentioned before that when I start getting that tickle of nagging to wonder what everybody else is saying about a book usually when I’m in the middle of the book and I actually poke around Goodreads and read the reviews LOOKING for the one- and two-star reviews,  you know I’m having doubts.

SO. Here’s the review of the book that I would wish to write if it wasn’t already eloquently and succinctly written:  One Minute Book Reviews.

You can find LOTS of five star and four star reviews here by clicking on this line. Or read Kim the Sophisticated Dork’s 4.5 star review here. Or you can check out Ti’s review which mentions great book club discussion points. Finally, this was my favorite review: Teresa’s at ShelfLove. HIGHLY recommended.

I invite you to read through the one and two star reviews on Goodreads; I found ’em very interesting. We can’t all agree. We all have different perspectives and take-aways.

I respect everyone’s opinion.

Please, and as much as this has been seen lately, it works:


What really sucked (not the book — the situation) is that the horrors continue – legal, reputation, stress, health problems, grief – for many MANY people long beyond those five days.

Final thoughts – I found the book sort of confusing and disjointed and varying in tone. I don’t think Fink was unbiased even as she fails to share what she really thought about some issues.  Kudos for the atrocities described and the multitude of perspectives shared and the evident thoroughness involved in the research = amazing.  I was enthralled for the first third and so ready for the book to be done by the last third.

Three slices of pie.

Nurses ROCK.


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

25 thoughts on “Five Days at Memorial

  1. I was more interested in the first half of the book. I didn’t really care to read about the details of the lawsuit, maybe because a quick Google search was enough to tell me what I needed to know. I felt it was a little too long and could have been shortened up a bit. But it was a heated discussion at times. With two nurses in the room, the discussion was lively to say the least and one of them was a retired hospice nurse!

    1. I agree about the first half being riveting! I almost started over at the arrests so I could follow along again paying better attention to the staff actions. It did get confusing. And I swear I don’t think she used the word ‘lethal’ until the interviews part of what happened after.

  2. I’ve been wondering about this one, although it’s not my usual type of read. My three stars mean the same thing as your three slices of pie! But people often think it means I didn’t like it, and I’m always going, No, I did enjoy it, it just didn’t have that something that would kick it up to 4. Which is why I don’t like ranking books any more. And I’m the same way as you with audiobooks. The best ones for me are either so engrossing my attention NEVER wanders, or they’re light enough that if my mind wanders (which it loves to do), it’s all right. Or if they’re not light but not totally engrossing, then I simply must rewind. I feel that I missed out on a lot (I mean that literally) in The Silkworm because I listened to it in audio, even though I did enjoy it.

    1. Rankings are for me. I can’t control how you might react to my rating but it really helps me – I like to know which books I liked best – at the end of the year. And I have been known to change them over time but most hit right.
      GREAT explanation of what a good audiobook can be!

    1. I was reading the goodreads reviews and people were complaining about the map and I was – WHA?! there was a map! yes, I should have gotten the print version.

  3. I can’t believe I never even heard of this book until just a couple months ago. It really sounds like a book I’d enjoy (in that odd use of the word “enjoy”), and your review made me even more eager to get my hands on it.

  4. Thank you for letting me know I a) should not listen to it as an audiobook and b) should be prepared to not love it as much as everyone may imply. It still sounds like a fascinating book, but I don’t feel the urge to rush out and read it anymore like I once did. I’m not slighting your review – just thankful for an honest opinion and much more realistic expectations.

    1. You know I don’t like spoilers, right? Well this one is likely better up front knowing to pay attention to Dr. Pou during the Hurricane part – the first third. So, I would recommend it and I bet you would find it worthwhile.

  5. I had this book on my TBR and it just wasn’t calling to me… So, I got rid of it. It sounded interesting when I first got it but just never read it.

  6. If you think medical quandaries are fascinating, then have I got the book for you…The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Have you read it? It. Is. Awesome. So awesome that it’s ruined for any other medical quandary-ish book.

  7. Yep, that’s what I need. The reviewer who doesn’t gush about the book. It so helps me to decide if I “must” read a book and if I must then at least I will read it with more realistic expectations.

Welcome! I invite you to comment. If for some reason commenting is troublesome, pls send email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s