cover image Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training

Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training

Adam Stern. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-358-43473-3

Stern debuts with a mesmerizing memoir of the four years he spent in a psychiatry residency program at Harvard. He joined the staff in 2010, as part of a group of 15 residents, and was charged with observing patients in the emergency room and the psych ward, and working the grueling “night float,” which required working two consecutive weeks of overnights. While he admits that “managing patients was a never-ending maelstrom of chaos and uncertainty,” Stern came to understand that psychiatry is all about helping patients become their best selves “in spite of, or even because of, the immense challenges they face.” Throughout, he paints sensitive and often touching portraits of his patients, who dealt with everything from paranoia to anorexia to severe depression. In spending “half my day as a reflective window” for others’ struggles, he often carried their despair with him. At the same time, he writes, these intense trials led to deep bonds with the other residents—one of whom would eventually become his wife—and taught him how “to purposefully keep moving forward.” Compassionate and candid, this is as human as it gets. Agent: Karen Murgolo, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)