La Doctora Pb: The Journal of an American Doctor Practicing Medicine on the Amazon River Paperback – 30 Nov 2001
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Dr. Linnea shows us how one can give up almost all the material possessions and creature comforts of the modern world and still find meaning, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Dr. Linnea has created for herself a significant life. A life with much to teach a troubled world.
While missionaries have long sacrificed themselves to serve God, win the eternal salvation of lost souls, and earn a place in the pantheon of saints, Dr. Linnea does it for the pure humanity of the effort. Goodness is indeed its own reward in this Amazon outpost.
Because of Dr. Linnea's "wonderful life", many lives have been enriched and some even saved. More importantly, countless hours of suffering have been alleviated. This is the most humane thing: ending or reducing pain. We all have to die but we shouldn't have to suffer or endure years of pain when a cure is available. Dr. Linnea provides the cures that often would not be provided otherwise.
She treats the sick and asks nothing in return; she allows her patients to keep their personal integrity; she respects their beliefs; she grants them respect and maintains their dignity; I think this could be called love.
On the surface, this book is about a one woman medical practice hidden in the Amazon rain forest. Beneath the surface, however, it is about finding meaning in a world that too often seems to be without meaning. Dr. Smith's "life-example" has the power to let you view your own life differently; perhaps with a clearer insight. With one brave decision, everything can change. For Dr. Smith and thousands of her patients, the change has had life-sustaining significance.
I felt a similar elation reading this book that I experienced when the US Women's Soccer Team won the World Cup. I was proud that our young women could show the world such excellence in a non-American sport. What else would this generation of young American women do in the future now that they saw what they could do? It is the power of their "example" that is so exciting. I stood and cheered in the privacy of my living room.
Dr. Linnea is such an example, as well. She's one of our own; a human we can be proud of -- a human we would gladly point to if Extra Terrestrials came to earth and wanted to interview an exemplar human being for the Encyclopedia Galactica. Better yet, she is in "real time"; she is alive and still "on-mission". You can be a part of her life. You can support her efforts. You can even bring her medicine if you visit the Amazon -- as some adventurous tourists do. You can visit her website (run by her relatives in the USA.)
As a bonus, the book is very well written and designed. It is also moderately priced.
La Doctora demonstrates the best in mankind. The message is optimistic; the ending, happy. Reading it may make you happy. And maybe, as in my case, it may make you want to stand and cheer as you finish the last page.
Keep up the good work Dr. Linnea and please write a sequel. Feeling good and feeling proud and feeling optimistic is definitely worth the price of admission.
I have visited the area that the author was working in and her story made me feel as though I was back in the jungle with her, experiencing all that she wrote about. I felt connected to her and the way she viewed the U.S. after vacationing in Peru. Although she doesn't come right out and "badmouth" the US, she does point out just how many comforts we take advantage of. She eludes to the emptiness we feel as Americans, having every material possession known to man, and still being unhappy. She discusses her hesitantcy to leave her American life behind in pursuit of a dream that seemed crazy at in point. In the final analysis, her story is a perfect example of how one person can make a difference.
Jackie and I spent a few days at Explorama and talked at some length with Dr. Linnea. This book is not embellished in any way. This is an accurate account of life in that part of the world.
Her descriptions of places were perfectly clear to me, since I've been there. It's hard to know how these descriptions will play out in the mind's eye of other readers. The beginning of the book was particularly fascinating.
Our face-to-face meeting left me with the impression that she is not trying to run away from society, not trying to crusade for the underprivileged, not trying to be "holier than thou". She really likes what she is doing. The book confirms this.
When you read this book you are looking inside La Doctora. Nothing is hidden. There are no pretenses. She is simply good people.
Incidently, she wanted the book named "At the River's Edge" and the publishers wanted "La Doctora". The publishers won.
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