Heart in the Right Place

Heart in the Right Place

4.4 20
by Carolyn Jourdan
     
 

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Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made. But when her mother has a heart attack, she returns home—to the Tennessee mountains, where her father is a country doctor and her mother works as his receptionist. Jourdan offers to fill in for her mother until she gets better. But days turn into weeks as she trades her suits for scrubs

Overview

Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made. But when her mother has a heart attack, she returns home—to the Tennessee mountains, where her father is a country doctor and her mother works as his receptionist. Jourdan offers to fill in for her mother until she gets better. But days turn into weeks as she trades her suits for scrubs and finds herself following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits are never billed. Most important, though, she comes to understand what her caring and patient father means to her close-knit community.

With great humor and great tenderness, Heart in the Right Place shows that some of our biggest heroes are the ones living right beside us.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Sometimes the greater good can best be served one person at a time. With lavish affection, genuine respect, and exuberant humor, Jourdan offers a zestfully compassionate portrait of a poor community rich in the ways of humanity."
Booklist
Des Moines Register
"Heart in the Right Place provided laugh out loud humor to me while on the treadmill (although too much laughing while running can be dangerous ... ) ... I have been recommending this book to friends telling them some of the humorous anecdotes within, but it is the deeper meaning ... that will keep this story in my memory."

—Tina Ristau, Des Moines Register

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"This is a soul-touching memoir filled with memorable Southern characters, plus plenty of country humor, but mostly a memoir about character—the transformative power of selfless acts in forgotten places far from the spotlight."
—John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Louisville Courier Journal
"Jourdan's tone is heartfelt without being preachy and frequently funny without being trite. Readers struggling to reconcile their practices with their beliefs will find Jourdan's memoir to be as much a blueprint for change as it is a satisfying recollection of one person's journey to fulfillment."

—L. Elisabeth Beattie, Louisville Courier Journal

BookPage
"[A]n absolute delight of a book: warm, funny and written with great heart and understanding."
—Howard Shirley, BookPage
From the Publisher
"[A]n absolute delight of a book: warm, funny and written with great heart and understanding."
—Howard Shirley, BookPage
Publishers Weekly

Former U.S. Senate counsel Jourdan writes of giving up her fast-paced life in Washington to work in her father's family medical practice office in east Tennessee. "For forty years, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week," she writes, "Momma and Daddy ran a homemade, low paid 911 service for a large rural community. There was no such thing as a day off, ever." When her mother had a heart attack, leaving the front desk unmanned, Jourdan returned home to help keep the area's only doctor's office afloat while she recovered. What began as a two-day stay stretched out indefinitely, forcing Jourdan to learn to "calmly register nice people with hard jobs who routinely came in covered in hog or chicken blood." Missing Washington, she wrestles with questions of courage and loyalty, belonging and identity, and living with meaning and purpose. The demands of her new job test her, from the drama of triaging the waiting room and the tedium of negotiating the Medicare coding system to the loss of several favorite patients. In the end, she finds that she is after all her parents' daughter, possessing strength that earned her mother the nickname " Sarge," as well as her father's selfless devotion to this working-poor community. Jourdan's dispatches from the reception desk make for a stirring, beautiful memoir that is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, and ultimately a triumph. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565126138
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
08/19/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
691,765
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful book. I would have enjoyed it even if Carolyn wasn't a neighbor of mine in East Tennessee. She is a great writer."

—Dolly Parton, Singer, Songwriter, and Actress

Meet the Author

Carolyn Jourdan, a former U.S. Senate Counsel to the Committee on environment and Public Works and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (now homeland Security and Governmental Affairs), is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker. She lives on the family farm in east Knox County, Tennessee

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Heart in the Right Place 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this on a whim having heard nothing about it and I just loved it. It's one of those funny, down to earth kind of books that you just can't stop reading. Loved every minute of it and have recommended it over and over.
WI_jill More than 1 year ago
Just finished this, and can't wait to send copies to my sister and cousin! Have already recommended to several friends. The love of the author for her rural hometown people and places is evident in every page of this book, but it is never related with a sappy or sweetness. There is always great respect laced with humor based on the insider's ability to enjoy the foibles of their place. It is also evident that she misses the fast life she left behind in DC, but comes to see her new situation as that of opportunity not sacrifice. The perfect book for your armchair, your commute, or the beach. Enjoy
Guest More than 1 year ago
Family Circle Magazine¿s first ever, Book of the Month and the winner of Elle Magazine¿s Readers Prize,Heart In The Right Place reaches out and touches the core of the reader. An emotional journey that inspires you to evaluate what is truly important in life and your place in it. The story opens as Carolyn, the accomplished, independently successful attorney receives a phone call from her father¿her mother is being treated for an apparent heart attack in the local emergency room. She immediately packed a quick bag, jumped into her expensive Mercedes and traveled the 500 miles from D.C. to her family¿s hometown in East Tennessee. Her father was a wonderful family doctor and her mom had worked by his side, officially as the receptionist, but more a Jill-of-all-trades, for as far back as she could remember. Now, Carolyn would have to fill-in for her Mom for a ¿few days.¿ Thinking she would be back in D.C. before Monday morning, Carolyn resigned herself to a couple of days of answering phones and whatever else, and then she would get back to the real world where she could make a difference. However, a few days turn to a few weeks and that quickly fades into a few months and the question that plagues the reader, was obviously wreaking havoc on Carolyn¿s mind as well¿will she return to D.C. or stay in East Tennessee? At first she was completely out of her element, feeling inadequate and ineffective. She had always believed that by being an attorney she could make a difference, on the national level, which in turn would help large numbers of people. Now, after months of being immersed in this simple, country community, interacting with the patients on a personal level, she began to see her parents selfless devotion to these people in a new light. Far from the hustle and bustle of high powered politicians and law makers, is where you find the folks who are making a difference, every day¿changing the world with one selfless act of kindness at a time. Carolyn Jourdan¿s memoir is an honest look into the heart of a young woman that discovers she is and has always been, her parents daughter. Chock-full of sweet southern charm, quaint characters that will have you laughing out loud one minute and reaching for a tissue the next, this is a wonderful story. Delightful, insightful and inspirational, Heart In The Right Place is a beautifully written novel that challenges us to rethink our goals, values and perceptions. Life is unpredictable and it¿s human nature to search for your purpose and to want to make a difference, which is very personal and quite difficult. And yet, Carolyn Jourdan shares her intimate journey through the tough questions, self-doubt and ultimately the choice to make sweeping changes in her life. A world away from the high-powered, black-tie gatherings where wheeling and dealing is the name of the game, she found her calling in a country doctor¿s small office. Don¿t miss this one-of-a-kind memoir, Jourdan¿s words will stay with you long after the book has been snugly tucked away on the shelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely delightful. I couldn't put it down. I laughed and I cried. Carolyn is a very talented writer! I'm looking forward to more work from her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.
jdiraymond More than 1 year ago
Very Good! Loved this book. in the Smokey Mountains. Have read 3 of Carolyn Jourdan's books and absolutely enjoyed every one of them. I am looking for her newest which is a fiction. Each one is one has been the kind of book that I learn about the Smokey Mountains but also about the nature of man and relationships. Very enjoyable reads and I will be buying her books as gifts.
TN-reader More than 1 year ago
This book makes a great gift. The story about Carolyn’s father, a country doctor, as well as her transition from the city back home. The personalities of the doctor’s patients come to life. Through the book, we come to know and love Carolyn and her community of characters from rural Tennessee. The heart provides a focus for the medical experiences that are detailed in the book. The technical detail about the wide-ranging medical practice of a solo doctor makes for an engaging and informative read.
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lckyforme More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what others saw in this book because there was no story, everything just kind of happened. If you're looking for a page turner, this is not it, I had to read it for book club, and I forced myself to finish it.