Last week, one of my friends brought over a book to keep me occupied while I was stuck at home. I'd told her before that I loved this series of vet/animal stories by James Herriot and she kept saying that I'd love 'Doctor in the house' by Richard Gordon. So during her recent visit home to Australia, she grabbed it off her bookshelves and brought it to Singapore for me.
Well, I finally got around to reading last night and I did love it. But the best part was when I got to the end of the book where the protagonist, a medical student, is describing his final year exams - an episode in a clinic where the patient he was treating knew so much about her own illness that he was able to pass off her accurate diagnosis as his own and passed with flying colours.
I read that through with a feeling of incredulity - it could not be... but then it was! The chapter ends with a memorable anecdote of one of the medical students flunking out his practical exam with a flourish. The poor chap was told to deliver a baby from a papier mache model of a pregnant woman and in his urgency to get the baby out, he flung the "mother" and the "baby" over his head. The furious examiner then picks up the "baby", hands it over to the student and says: "Here, hit the father with this and you'd have killed the whole damn family..."
The entire passage about the medical exam - with that fantastic anecdote - was used for one of my English comprehension questions in school. I'm sure of it; I remember enjoying the story so much, I wished I could have read the whole book - and now I have!
I can't believe I recognized the story (hey it must have been 15 years ago!) and I am amazed at the way the book eventually found its way into my hands :)
Perhaps no one else the world gets this feeling but recognizing a story that way is lovely - very much like stepping into a party and recognizing the face of a dear friend in the crowd, one that you haven't met in a long time but would love to catch up with.
Or better yet, meeting a new friend who is such a kindred spirit that it's almost as though you "recognize" her/him even though you've only just met.