Here’s an irony: the dilemmas author Kyle Bradford Jones’s explores in his skillfully-written book, FALLIBLE: A Memoir of a Young Physician’s Struggle with Mental Illness, would persuade most readers–based on the evidence in its pages–to seek him out for medical care, despite his two diagnosed psychiatric conditions: major depressive and generalized anxiety. That is because his memoir teems with wisdom, knowledge, caring and integrity–qualities that one would hope to find in a man (or woman) of medicine.
Jones’s shorter-form writing has distinguished him as something of an expert on mental wellness issues that affect physicians. But that’s hardly all the book addresses. Jones’s review of his life and experiences as they relate to his psychiatric challenges leads him to comment knowingly on the full range of what he feels is a broken healthcare system, and–like a star juggler–he blends both his personal tales and observations with a keen professional perspective. Jones’s warm and assured (plus clear as a high-mountain-spring prose) makes FALLIBLE invitingly readable, as he takes us from his youth through college, time overseas, marriage and budding family, medical school and residency to finally practicing medicine.
Hence when Jones drills down into medical specifics he never leaves readers feeling lost in the weeds. He draws in smart references to the likes of Camus and Dostoevsky, alongside relevant chapter-opening quotes from hip musical acts like Elvis Costello and The Smiths with equal assurance. His deep religious faith is something that could rub up against science in less gifted hands, yet he integrates his not all-that-common and oft-misunderstood Mormonism into his life and book in a blended fashion that complements both religion and his secular self and concerns.
Jones pulls no punches when discussing his “gargoyles,” as Jones calls his disorders. And most importantly, the author displays a profoundly robust human heart and smarts, even if he is unstinting is his critical observations of himself and much else.
From soon after the reader begins this book, FALLIBLE reads like a talk with a trusted and well-informed friend, striking a seamless blend of personal story and bigger themes and issues. It’s a journey with many benefits that never fails to engage along its complex way.
Kyle Bradford Jones’s memoir FALLIBLE travels the many rugged mine fields of being a young physician struggling with mental illness with a winning strength and grace.
~Rob Patterson for IndieReader