Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: A White Coat Is My Closet by Jake Wells

A White Coat Is My Closet
by Jake Wells
Published October 25th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: .epub, .mobi, html, pdf, Paperback

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Zack Sheldon doesn’t have time to be lonely. He’s in his last year as a pediatric resident, almost married to the job, and busy with the joys and sorrows that come with providing medical care to children. Professionally, he’s confident, accomplished, and respected. But personally he’s too insecure to approach a sexy man like Sergio Quartulli, or even to imagine that Sergio might be attracted to him. 

Zack spots Sergio from across the gym, and then a chance meeting poolside somehow turns into a date. Before Zack knows it, they’ve become a couple, but Zack’s white coat is his closet at the hospital, and committing to a relationship with Sergio makes it difficult for Zack to continue hiding behind it. On the other hand, he grew up in a small town where being gay was shameful, and he works in an environment that can sometimes be homophobic, so it’s hard for him to open up about who he really is. Before Zack can make a choice on his own terms, circumstances force him to make a decision. He can continue to hide, or he can step out from behind his white coat and risk everything for love.

A story about a doctor? A story about a Pediatrician in the training? These alone made me stand up and wished I had this in my hands. Now that I have read it, it more than lived up to my expectations especially after finding out the author himself is a doctor. I was wondering how he would be able to transfer his medical knowledge across into an MM romance novel. Many authors have attempted and quite a few had lived up to their research. From a doctor himself? This had better be different! 

You bet it was different! It was not only an outstanding piece of work, it can open the eyes of the unknowing just what it takes to live the life of a physician, be embroiled within the politics of hospital life, and get the personals out of the way. 

Before I go forward with a review, readers should be pre-warned: 

First of all, this is a pretty lengthy book. However, as I am also right in the middle of something longer, and have read longer, I am not deterred about page numbers. 

Second, it is important to take note that although this is an MM romance, there is nothing erotic about this story. Think ZERO (0) heat rating but with the romance ever so present.

Now off to the story and review!

I just have a happy face every time I see a blurb involving anyone who is involved in the medical world. I have a background in one and married another, so I do tend to have a need to get some romance within that highly intellectual and sometimes, snobbish, world.

Zack is a literal product of his parents' upbringing. He comes from an environment where sports was a huge issue and no one really talked about homosexuality. It was a hugely boring type of life, I would say, but it is typical of small towns and smaller cities around the world. Simply because he is a physician does not erase the environmental factors in Zack's psyche and unfortunately, this carries over to his personal life. His lack of physical self-esteem carries over to his attempted relationships. Fortunately for him, he does have a steady set of friends. But these too were divided. He had his straight friends and he had his gay friends and they never, ever mingled. Sad really, and Zack knew it.

Comes out of nowhere is Sergio. A gorgeous and highly independent Italian. He may not be a doctor, but this man had just the right dose of medical loving and understanding that Zack needed relationship-wise. His coming into Zack's life overturned the other's life.

Their romance started off on shaky ground. Their backgrounds were different, their self-esteems were poles apart, but their attraction to each other was pretty strong. Soon a wobbly love sparks and before long, they were quite involved. The only thing going against them was Zack's personal fears.

Life in the hospital where Zack interned is a typical one found all over the world, regardless of its socio-economic class or high-tech equipments and number of specialists. Thing is, if one were found weak, those in the upper ranks are sure to bite down and try to step over. Most succeed, some fail. Thing is, an intern has to fight their way through the politicking and backbiting to survive and get the best training. Is this hard to imagine? One must have to go through these very halls to successfully transfer this over text. When interns, things can get really rough and this has the most unfortunate statistics from health to personal life. 

I absolutely loved the way Jake Wells was able to write in full detail the psyche of an intern. Their ability to work endlessly for thirty-six plus hours and still be sharp in mind is amazing to observe. I have seen these men and women be so deep in REM sleep and when the alert calls, they can spout off doses and emergency actions with eyes closed. 

I was also very happy with the way the author was able to show how these doctors could shed off their doctor-personas like an off-on switch. These men and women are like two different people and it can confuse the unfamiliar. Personally, I have seen some who would get upset when their doctor-friends would switch to the physician facade and then are suddenly seen as snobby, rude, lacking in empathy and other misunderstood behaviors. Hahahahha, if they only knew that behind the locked doors these snobbish doctors break down and cry when they lose a patient! - This last bit brings me to Christopher and he is the embodiment of all those little ones we lose everyday. His character was so beautifully written, I kept tearing up. There were also a lot of funny moments so this is not really all that pure drama.

So how did I find this book? Isn't it obvious? I absolutely LOVED this. The fact this is a Zero Heat Rating just made it an even better story for me. Why? Well, this is a story about a man and his life inside and outside of the hospital halls. It is a story of a doctor's partner, be they man or woman, one who has to have that strength to stay on and be that one to be relied on behind the closed doors.

Note:  "All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Youth Services, because sometimes success in life starts with being given a chance." (from A White Coat Is My Closet)

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