A book review of: House the official guide to the hit medical drama

3.0 out of 5 stars Using House to spawn young physicians, July 16, 2014

By Jeffrey A Newman

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This review is from: House, M.D.: The Official Guide to the Hit Medical Drama (Paperback)

I purchased this book during a daily dose of at least three House episodes on Netflix (absent commercials!). The writing for this show was obviously above par, as was the acting. I wanted to know more about the reality of daily schedules and the inner life of the actors as well as the back stories and foundations for the show concept. For these needs, the book delivered well. There were some real insights included like how the show’s primary actor at one point felt locked in a vortex having to arrive daily early morning and be on set into early evening with few breaks. He felt trapped and thought that if he got into a car accident he would get a badly needed respite. I didn’t like the way the book was organized and there was a lot of filler with descriptions of the filing difficulties. It was a mishmash compendium without good integration to really get at the soul of the whole organization. That being said, House as a show was a phenomenon in that it conveyed some excellent strategies in diagnosing difficult cases and toyed with issues faced by most physicians such as whether patient contact is really helpful when trying to decipher complex and arcane disorders. So to that end the book did background the conceptors and their purposes and the doctors in real life who were the basis of the idea. Not much was said about why the show ended, except that ratings went down. Perhaps it was just a lifespan issue but I would have wanted more here and I also wanted to know more about what the key actors thought of their experience in retrospect. I have now drafted my to nieces into watching the show. They are ages 7 and 12 and they are hooked. They like House’s gruff manner and the mystery of diagnosis. They know it was based in part on the Sherlock Holmes series and this has lead them to reading it and watching the new British TV series of the same name.  I believe House could draw them towards medicine, which is a good thing. They are now fluent in the lexicon of House which uses the terms plasmaferesis and sarcoidosis in almost every episode. They know about jaundice and what it means regarding “trashing” the liver(another term used a lot in the show).We test each other on new words we hear and what they mean in the context of the show. We use  Siri on my I-Phone for definitions. This has now become a contest. House is a good teacher to start them off, although they will need to develop a different bedside manner. Jeff Newman