Top critical review
Disappointing, and downright unsettling, book
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2018
I had loved Verghese's "Cutting for Stone", so could hardly wait to read "The Tennis Partner". I came away disgusted with Dr. Verghese's complete lack of awareness of what was happening to his friend, David. How could a physician NOT recognize that David had a serious underlying disease?? The concept of "dual diagnosis" was well-known by the late 1980's. David died in 1994. How could Verghese not see that his friend clearly had Bipolar Disorder?? (The old term was Manic Depressive Disorder.) David was treated for his addiction, but until the illness that was DRIVING his condition was addressed and treated, there was no way he could stop using drugs. He was self-medicating. How could that not have been obvious to EVERYONE who treated this poor, sick young man? Also, I couldn't help wondering why on earth Verghese didn't suggest to David that he simply do research work, rather than the most grueling of all experiences: an Internship? Given David's multiple relapses, wasn't it obvious that the tremendous stress of an Internship was liable to drive him over the edge? And pushing him to be in touch with his emotionally abusive parents? Why?? I think Verghese thought only about how HE would behave in a similar situation, and gave no thought to why David reacted as he did. The final thing that made me throw down the book in disgust was when Verghese went on about how angry HE was about David's suicide. Hello: David wasn't "thinking" when he killed himself. People who commit suicide aren't doing it to hurt other people. They commit suicide because the pain they are experiencing is completely unbearable. I've always explained to family members of people who commit suicide: it is like an animal in a trap. The animal can stay in the trap and die, or the animal can chew off its leg and die. Your family member chose to chew off his/her leg. (Also, recent research has shown that the pain center in the brain is the SAME for physical AND psychological pain.) Dr. Verghese didn't do his homework, while David was alive, nor after David tragically died. I hope he has learned something since then.