“A gem of a memoir . . . Holland takes us for a ride through the psych ER that is at once wild and poignant, a ride that leaves deep tracks in even the healthiest of minds.”—Katrina Firlik, M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe
Julie Holland thought she knew what crazy was. Then she came to Bellevue. For nine eventful years, Dr. Holland was the weekend physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. In this absorbing memoir, Holland recounts stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving: the serial killer, the naked man barking like a dog in Times Square, the schizophrenic begging for an injection of club soda to quiet the voices in his head, the subway conductor who helplessly watched a young woman pushed into the path of his train. Writing with uncommon candor, Holland supplies not only a page-turner with all the fast-paced immediacy of a TV medical drama but also a fascinating glimpse into the inner lives of doctors who struggle to maintain perspective in a world where sanity is in the eye of the beholder.
Praise for Weekends at Bellevue
“An extraordinary insider’s look at the typical days and nights of that most extraordinary place, written with a rare combination of toughness, tenderness, and outrageous humor.”—Andrew Weil, M.D.
“Unforgettable . . . tells a mean story.”—New York Daily News
“The tension between [Holland’s] macho swagger and her shame at the harsh way she occasionally treats patients gives this memoir extra intrigue.”—Psychology Today
“A fascinating portrait . . . Holland is a good storyteller with a dark wit.” —New York Post “Equal parts affecting, jaw-dropping, and engrossing.”—Booklist
In this disjointed memoir, Holland describes her nine-year odyssey as a doctor on the night shift at New York City's Bellevue hospital, a name that has become synonymous with insanity. Holland met a bewildering assortment of drunks, sociopaths, schizophrenics and homeless people malingering in hope of a warm place to crash. As the physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room, the hard-boiled Holland acted as gatekeeper, deciding who would be sent upstairs to the psych ward, to Central Booking or back to the streets. The book also covers Holland's personal life from her student days as a wannabe rock star to her psychotherapy sessions, her sexual escapades and her marriage and birth of her children. Holland captures the rhythms and routines of the E.R. with its unbearable suffering, petty jealousies and gallows humor. She is less successful at maintaining any kind of narrative continuity. Chapters generally run only a couple of pages and often depict random anecdotes that most likely sound better than they read.
Hugely educational for anyone touched by mental illness
Easy, entertaining but predominantly enlightening & educational read, that sheds great light on depression & mental illness from a medical standpoint but conveyed in lay speech.
Author got political
This book was ok - I was about 1/3 of the way through when the author started getting political, twice in a short span. I read to escape politics and I am really tired of movies, tv shows, and authors trying to insert their political agenda no matter how out of place it seems. The author came off a bit arrogant and irritating from the start..so when she got political, I threw in the towel.
Fascinating and heart-wrenching at the same time. You'll think twice about turning your nose up at that homeless person on the street.