Most helpful positive review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
"Love thy neighbor"
on 23 January 2010
This is a book I loved ."To the Wedding", also by John Berger, is another. The sense of humanity found in these two books, is exceptional and very rare in modern literature. I remember one of them, an excellent one: "Diary of a country priest" by Georges Bernanos, has a common attitude with "A fortunate man".
John Berger writes about a living, real person. In his own career of a rather isolated rural doctor John Sassall reveals his own hopes, pains, sufferings, struggles as a human being ,similar to his patients. He interacts with them in a deep psychological and human contact not far away from being compassion and love in a deep sense. Freud used the same word -love- as the feeling developing in the patient-psychoanalyst relationship. Some very few professionals know exactly what it is and are able to use it (M.Balint, is an excellent writer regarding medical profession) and here is where Bernanos priest can also be compared with Berger's GP, where both men act and work in a philosophical level: compassion and love, almost sacred words part of Christianity and St. Paul's message.
(Did we all, adults , forgot "our" doctor of our childhood ? They are now disappeared, but not the beautiful memories, of simple long illnesses, warm bed ridden days, Mother worried, some soft menthol perfumes, and the arrival of Our doctor, his kindness, his tenderness, his warmth.-) Here, we find Doctor Sassall, becoming part of the families, visiting and taking care of young lives in distress, of very seriously ill people, of persons in their last minutes of live and giving them the necessary treatment, responsibility, attention, comprehension.
But ,together with those excellent photos by Jean Mohr, there is still an interwoven development of all these items plus the doctor's personality, as an essay inside a book ,the whole perhaps pretending to be an interesting investigation on life. But "Sassall needs his unsatisfied quest for certainty and his uneasy sense of unlimited responsibility": just as the author. Therefore after a little more than the half of this book,John Berger suddenly changing voice and style, starts developing his own ideas in a long non-transparent endless monologue.
I read this book for the first time, years ago and was impressed by the beauty of the first part. To day I will still talk about a very good book on the "love your neighbor" admiring concept -specially nowadays- and with a certain poetical and beautiful essence.
Just not perfectly finished , but dignified and useful for the soul benefit! One of those rare books that makes you face humanity with a little more love..I very much recommend it !