What’s it about?
The Empathy Exams is a series of personal essays – if they were strung into one, this would be a memoir. The first one is titled The Empathy Exams, and it’s about her job at a medical school. She’s required to portray different patients with different ailments and symptoms and willingnesses to talk about those symptoms. The medical students are required to talk to her to gather information to diagnose her, but also to improve their bedside manner. After the interviews, she has to grade them on, among other things, their empathy. Did the students make her feel like they felt her pain? She also gains a lot of insight into what empathy is. The rest of the essays in the book are about her putting herself into situations (or situations she’s already been in) and empathizing with the people around her. What can she learn about humanity?
Why should you read it?
Because learning about people and sympathizing with people is a good thing. Seriously, The Empathy Exams is an eloquent exploration of what it means to be a person. The author does a good job at making you feel her apprehension at getting an abortion. She communicates the horror of living in a world where drug lords are fighting for territory. But it’s never too heavy. It’s thoughtful. I enjoyed it.