Man Who Grew Two Breasts

Berton Roueche, Author, Breton Roueche, Author
Berton Roueche, Author, Breton Roueche, Author Dutton Books $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-525-93934-4
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-452-27410-5
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Devotees of the late Roueche's Annals of Medicine column in the New Yorker will be delighted to have this collection of seven original pieces and one reprint, even though the articles are neither uniformly engrossing nor as wondrous as the medical curiosities they explore. Some of the pieces dating from the '70s-one about the diagnosis of a 24-year-old woman's muscle problems as myasthenia gravis, for example-lack Roueche's signature tension that builds between the manifestation of a puzzling medical condition and its identification, which is perhaps why they remained unpublished during his lifetime. The more recent articles tend to be cautionary, such as one that tells of a 20-year-old Denver woman, a Jehovah's Witness who refused a blood transfusion and died from aplastic anemia caused by an oral tanning agent. And physical fitness adherents will be given pause by the 30-year-old New Yorker who was hospitalized with crippling pains in her right thigh brought on by an exercise machine, a condition her doctor dubbed ``thigh thinners thecitis.'' The resolution of the title piece, about gynecomastia, an estrogen condition that develops men's breasts, will have older readers grinning. (May)
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