The Book of Jesse:
A Story of Youth, Illness, and Medicine

The Francis Press, 2002


The Book of Jesse tells the story of a young man’s illness and confrontation with death as seen through the eyes of his father. It weaves together the significant events of Jesse’s life and the aftermath of his death, moving back and forth between his hospitalization for a liver transplant, his early childhood, and the author’s present-day experience of grief and loss. The Book of Jesse pulls the reader in by creating a sense of immediacy with the characters’ lives. The author does not flinch at writing of medical miscalculations and mistakes yet draws a rounded portrayal of life on an intensive care unit, including the skills, generosity, and human failings of Jesse’s physicians and nurses. His quest to salvage meaning from disaster through exploration of Jesse’s life and death stands at the center of The Book of Jesse, which tells a gripping story straight from the heart, the gut, and the mind.

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