Didn't Get Frazzled

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
387 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

David Z Hirsch grew up on the steppes of Nebraska peddling Kool-Aid off I-129 until saving up enough cash for medical school. After graduation, he moved to Pyongyang to teach pre-med classes at Kim Il-sung University. He soon fell out of favor and was imprisoned at Kaechon where he traded medical favors for soup and toilet paper until he made a daring escape across the border.

Dr. Hirsch subsisted for the next three years by foraging gooseberries and licking the dew off spiny toads. This led to a burst of creativity, and he wrote the first draft of Didn’t Get Frazzled on bark peeled off a dying Manchurian Ash tree. Ultimately discovered in a semi-feral state by the China Coast Guard flotilla from Liaoning, Dr. Hirsch returned to the United States sixty pounds lighter but more inspired than ever.

David Z Hirsch is a pen name, so absolutely nothing in the above paragraphs are true. This is not lying, you see. It’s fiction. Many well-regarded sources insist that these are two distinct things. The actual guy who wrote this novel is a practicing physician in Maryland. His life story is considerably more prosaic, but in his head he lives a fascinating, fascinating life.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Didn't Get Frazzled is a humorous novel about the American medical school experience written by David Z. Hirsch. Studying and acing exams were things any medical student could take in their stride, but the real challenges facing the first year medical students in Seth's class had everything to do with their gross anatomy class. Teams of desperate students cut, sawed, and used memorization tricks to remember the parts of the human body that were - absurdly enough - laid out before them on their examination tables. Their subjects' bodies reeked of formaldehyde and, by extension, they stunk of the preservative as well. One could always tell when a first-year was approaching by that smell. Once, when he came home in a total state of exhaustion, Seth neglected to shower off the stink before he went to bed, and his bed reeked for months afterwards. It was all a matter of perspective, such as looking at a barrel filled with amputated limbs and not getting spooked. At least, Seth had a semblance of normalcy to come home to in the shape of his live-in girlfriend, April. However, as Seth and his classmates got more and more involved in the shared challenges of their schooling, April became more involved with her own co-workers, and their worlds gradually grew further and further apart.

David Z. Hirsch's humorous medical school novel, Didn't Get Frazzled, left me feeling profoundly respectful of those students who survive their academic and internship experiences while retaining their humanity and compassion at the same time. This beautifully written and very funny story also reveals the harsh truths medical students have to face and learn to live with. As I write this, I'm thinking quite vividly of the papoose board and the heart-breaking work faced by pediatricians. Hirsch's character, Seth, shares his personal and professional life with the reader, and it's a fascinating account. Some of the patients Seth deals with are unforgettable, and, likewise, there are doctors described who gave me chills and those who still maintained a connection with their patients. While some aspiring doctors may find this an inspirational read, I found myself glad that while I had seriously entertained veterinary medicine, I had never considered medical school. That said, Didn't Get Frazzled is a marvelous read, funny at times, even uproariously so, and poignant at others. As I finished this book, I thought how lucky Seth's patients were to have him as a doctor. And that's what it's all about in the end. Didn't Get Frazzled lets you live the medical school experience from a safe and sane distance. It's most highly recommended.

Deborah Lloyd

Four years of medical school, with rotations in all the clinical services within a New York City hospital, is the setting for this fictional work. In Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z. Hirsch, M.D., Seth Levine relates the frustrations and struggles, endless hours of study and work, and personal trials during these formative years. Seth lives with his girlfriend, April, and the pressure of his life takes its toll on the relationship. Seth and his fellow classmates are focused on getting through it all, and often escape into sordid, but funny and raucous nights out on the town. Seth manages to rise to the challenges as he finds his true calling. Changing his specialty from pediatrics to cardiology to primary care illustrates another major stress in the medical student’s path. As Seth becomes more comfortable with relating to patients, it is apparent he is on the way to becoming a thoughtful, compassionate physician.

David Z. Hirsch, M.D. presents an authentic portrayal of the life of a medical student in Didn’t Get Frazzled. The author’s use of humor provides a good balance against the complicated struggles facing these young, bright professionals. The difficulties in maintaining meaningful, loving relationships are also portrayed well. There are many characters in the book, but it is easy to follow each one due to the unique descriptions of each. The writing has a smooth flow, moving easily from dialogue to Seth’s thoughts to some very dramatic medical situations. The reader is engaged throughout the story, eager to see what the next challenge will be!

Gisela Dixon

Didn't Get Frazzled by David Z Hirsch is a realistic fiction novel about the unique life and trials of a medical student. Seth Levine is a typical medical student studying to become a physician. His world involves endless memorization, constantly learning a huge amount of information, and of course the college camaraderie with the unique sense of humor among medical students. The book begins right away with a typical anatomy class and the usual banter. We are introduced to Seth's friend, Sujay Patel, along with their classmates and their unique personalities. Didn't Get Frazzled by David Z Hirsch then continues on and depicts the life and experiences in the medical college classroom, labs, grueling exams, alongside Seth's personal life and his relationships.

Didn't Get Frazzled is an engaging book and almost reads like an autobiographical novel because a lot of the events are so close to reality and the real world of medicine. I liked how the characters are so well developed with their unique personalities and traits that they almost seem real. The writing keeps up a steady flow and effectively blends the anecdotal world of medical college with Seth's own life, dating, and relationships. I also found the underlying humor in Didn't Get Frazzled to be quite funny and, for me, this turned this book into a nice blend of light-hearted reading alongside serious topics. People with a medical background will surely identify with Didn't Get Frazzled and lay people will probably just enjoy a humorous look into the life of a medical student.