Something to Prove: A Daughter's Journey to Fulfill a Father's Legacy

Something to Prove: A Daughter's Journey to Fulfill a Father's Legacy

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by Yvonne S. Thornton
     
 

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Dr. Yvonne Thornton, author of the heartwarming memoir The Ditchdigger's Daughters (which has been translated into 19 languages and adapted as an award-winning movie), knows what it's like to overcome steep odds. Born into a family with great ambition but few advantages, Dr. Thornton watched her parents work their entire lives to give their daughters a chance,

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Overview

Dr. Yvonne Thornton, author of the heartwarming memoir The Ditchdigger's Daughters (which has been translated into 19 languages and adapted as an award-winning movie), knows what it's like to overcome steep odds. Born into a family with great ambition but few advantages, Dr. Thornton watched her parents work their entire lives to give their daughters a chance, dreaming of the day their girls would be called "doctor." Now, in Something to Prove, Dr. Thornton brings us along her continued path as a doctor and mother, revealing the challenges of balancing a flourishing medical career with a growing family.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Picking up where her first memoir, The Ditchdigger's Daughters, left off, Thornton (obstetrics & gynecology, New York Medical Coll.), with Bartholomew (former contributing editor, Reader's Digest), writes of her hard work to ascend to the top of her field as a board-certified physician and professor in maternal-fetal medicine. It was the early 1980s, and she encountered both sexism and racism. Thornton writes candidly about the prejudice, unfairness, and setbacks she met with in her career—such as being relegated to inappropriate office space and denied promotions at more than one New York hospital. She also writes of the personal joys, challenges, and occasional heartbreak of being a mother, balancing responsibilities at work and at home. As readers of her first memoir will recall, Thornton's father had only a tenth-grade education but pushed his five daughters to become doctors (four of them did), while also equipping them with the valuable "life lessons" they would need to navigate a sometimes cruel world and rise above adversity. Verdict This book reads as though you're listening to and talking with a friend at the kitchen table. Thornton's frank, relaxed manner makes it accessible to general readers as well as students of women's or African American memoir. Worth considering also for those looking for inspirational reads.—Eboni A. Francis, Oberlin Coll. Lib., OH
Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus Reviews

Follow-up to the author's bestselling The Ditchdigger's Daughters(1995).

In her previous book, Thornton (Obstetrics and Gynecology/New York Medical Coll.) described how her working-class parents insisted that their five daughters do well in school and grow up to become doctors, which four of them did. This book begins in the early 1980s, as the author, then one of a handful of black female obstetricians in the country, joined New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center as an assistant professor in obstetrics-gynecology. She was marginalized, assigned a basement office and encountered mistreatment by colleagues that would plague much of her career at several New York–area hospitals. Ambitious and assertive, Thornton draws strength from her upbringing and perseveres in her quest for success. In her dingy digs, she improved the hospital clinic and built a thriving private practice. She won promotion to associate professor after threatening to resign upon learning that a former resident of hers "with the Cornell boys' club 'look'—tall, blonde, handsome, and well dressed" had been elevated to that rank. Later, on encountering bias at other hospitals, she recalled her father's observation, "Builds character, Cookie, builds character." Much of the book focuses on Thornton's work as a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine and her efforts to carry on the family tradition by encouraging her two gifted children to aspire to medical careers. As the book closes, Woody, a national chess champion, has graduated from medical school and plans to enter academic medicine; Kimberly is a medical student; and Thornton is a full professor—a post held by only 12 percent of female doctors—at a suburban medical college. While her story will undoubtedly attract fans of her earlier memoir, the author's relentless drive to overachieve—and her insistence that her own privileged children become physicians—may seem disconcerting to some readers, as if she had learned her father's lessons only too well. But then, as she writes, the idea was always to "pull so far ahead that nothing and no one could hold us back."

Candid and well-written.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780741472328
Publisher:
Infinity Publishing
Publication date:
02/24/2012
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
1,142,130
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.62(d)

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