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The Big Free

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A young female doctor faces the violence, debauchery, and larger-than-life characters of a New Orleans surgery in this funny and gritty medical novel.
New Orleans, 1982. Voodoo spells, prostitutes, prisoners, and veterans who are adamant about the size of their manhood—it’s all just another day at Charity Hospital, also known as The Big Free. It’s a medical free-for-all w
Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published July 7th 2017 by Morgan James Fiction
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  264 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Mary Anne
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is captivating and would make an amazing television series or movie! The author is one of the first female urologists in the world, and this is a fictionalized account of her residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. The cast of characters is colorful and enchanting, and the insight into what it's like to be a resident at a free hospital in a party city is fascinating. A highly enjoyable read - I quite literally could not put it down! ...more
Laura Cummings
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great storytelling!!

Author tells this story so that you feel as if you are there. It is not merely a good read but an amazing experience! I hope that there will be future opportunities to experience Dr Elizabeth Roberts!!
Linda Taub
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Martha Boone is my doctor, beside being the top urologist in Atlanta, she is a top storyteller. Who knew she could write a beautiful and interesting novel about her life at the "Big Free". I see her in every word and phrase. I can't say enough about her care and intelligence when it comes to taking care of the people who put their lives in her care. I highly recommend The Big Free to any and everyone who is thinking of a career in medicine. I also recommend this book to anyone who loves to read ...more
Jill Gooch
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!

I loved this book. Well written and witty. I couldn't wait to turn the page. Would love to read more from this writer.
T.M. Mike Brown
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Upfront I confess I have met Martha Boone, so I did not have to read the author's bio in the book. She is a world-renown urology surgeon. She also tackled writing a novel with the same precision and passion as she performs in her practice. Like her main character in the story, Martha was one of the first female urology surgeons in the world, as well as one of the first female surgeon interns at what was the famous Charity Hospital -- nicknamed The Big Free -- in New Orleans. She overcame the mal ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and recommend it for anyone looking for a great read. Written by a doctor, the main character Elizabeth’s point-of-view is enlightening and authentic. And I can relate to her challenges of leaving the farm and making it in a man’s world. I hope we get to read more of Elizabeth's adventures in the future! ...more
Jill Robbertze
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is fiction but based on the factual experiences of a young female surgeon while doing her residency in a very busy hospital in New Orleans. Well written and reads like a memoir. If you are interested in anything medical and the human condition you will love this book.
Donna Thiebaud
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very Good Book

Book is well written. It was hard to put down. Loved reading the descriptions of the old Charity. Brought back a lot of memories.

Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Although though characters were annoying and the dialogue stilted it was ultimately a good read
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This could have been a much better book. I got so hung up on the tone of conversation... it's supposed to be 1982, but the way people talked, I kept feeling like I was reading a book set in the 1920s or 30s. Though it was nice to read a novel about one of the places my Daddy used to work. :) ...more
Elvira D Ryan
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Book

It all felt so real, the reader really got to know Dr Roberts, and feel her pain and her joy. A truly good hospital read.
I did not want it to end.Hoping for more from this author.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was eager to read this book, being a graduate of Charity Hospital's Emergency Medicine program and having many crazy experiences that many people have a hard time believing and relating to. This book is a semi-autobiographical fiction about a young woman's first 6 months as a Tulane surgical internship. While there were many of the places, people and experiences that I could relate to and enjoyed the descriptions of, unfortunately the entire book was really hurt by poor story telling.

Perhaps t
kevin b
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my second read, This is not the kind of book I normally read... I am so very glad I spent the time reading it. It allowed me a perspective on life I would not have been able to get otherwise. I could just about not put it down. Would lay in bed reading till my eyes were too dry to blink... Thank you Martha Boone for sharing this amazing story. I CAN NOT WAIT TILL THE NEXT BOOK !!! Please get busy and get it done... :)
Jen Nealy
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Great stories, but somewhat amateur writing and clumsy editing. The same scene/situation (Elizabeth’s first patient death and subsequent Death and Complications Conference) is simultaneously described as happening in both July and in November. Often in the same conversation and on the same page.

P219 Top of the page, a reference is made to it currently being July. Bottom of the page, same conversation, Dr. Peterson says it’s November. Also there are references in the passage about how
J.L. Callison
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Big Free was not so Easy

A fascinating autobiographical novel of a doctor's life as an intern in Charity Hospital in New Orleans, or The Big Free, as it is known in the community.

If you are looking for Nobel laureate literature, you won't find it here. If, however, you enjoy a personal account of the trials, defeats, exhaustion, and the joys of the transformative days of a new doctor's life, you've found it. Dr. Boone is not a polished novelist, but in places that worked to her advantage, for
LInda L
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was interesting, but the stilted language of the characters was so off-putting I could hardly finish it. I sincerely hope the author is not as much of a snobbish, self-righteous prig as she portrayed herself in the book. I know when I worked in a big teaching hospital in the 60s, interns were certainly overworked and underpaid, but I thought by 1982 that those kinds of things had improved somewhat. I was not a M.D., but had many friends/acquaintances who were. I also never heard about the d ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Written as more biography than fiction - each chapter an incident from when working as a surgical intern at a charity type hospital in New Orleans. The descriptions of New Orleans fit the city. Really got a feel for the exhaustion felt by a new doctor, the need for learning how to treat patients as well as getting along with the staff. Enjoyed the descriptions of the types of patients she encountered. Nice variety of ER trauma episodes described with true feelings for the patient without a lot o ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author was one of the first female urology surgeons, and this book is a fictional account of her residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 1982. While the writing is stilted at times, the story itself makes up for that. Her descriptions of bone-numbing fatigue, lack of initial support from some of her male colleagues, eating on the run, sleep deprivation, and the enormous responsibility of dealing with life-threatening situations daily are gripping and pulled me right into the ER besid ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was completely enthralled with Martha Boone's story of Charity Hospital and its surgery program. Just reading about what interns experience in an inner city hospital ER made me completely exhausted. Elizabeth, the main character, is someone you want to befriend and encourage as she treats every kind of situation imaginable brought in from the streets of New Orleans. Boone writes with depth and caring of the characters and locations. So many emotions are brought forward while reading and waitin ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

Will Elizabeth make the cut and become a surgeon? I loved reading her story of the hard, brutal hours required to make the cut in a chosen musical rotation. WOW what an enlightening story! This book is like actually being in the story with Elizabeth as she lives the hectic days and nights giving life-saving medical expertise to the people of New Orleans.
Having lived in New Orleans for a few years, the description of places, food, the people's generosity, the language and the humor are
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am happy and proud to call Dr. Boone my doctor. I flew through this book in less than a week. I couldn't wait to pick it up and read it again when I had to be away from it. I loved reading about the main character, Dr. Elizabeth Roberts and was glad to learn that a lot of it was based on Dr. Boone's own experiences at Charity hospital. I laughed out loud several times especially during chapter 9 about the male GU exam! And cried while reading chapter 12 - Death in the ER. I'm looking forward t ...more
Pat Albert
I recently saw this book in Dr. Boone's waiting room so I picked it up to scan it while waiting to see her. The very first page grabbed me, thus I left with one of the books in hand. While I was reading it in the evening I would be chuckling and my husband would ask why??? I enjoyed every minute of
reading the book and then passed it on to my husband who couldn't lay it down because it was so enjoyable. We can't wait to see what Dr. Boone does with her next novel, which I understand she is
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read! It really brought back memories of my training. I had intended to become a urologist but was so put off by the meanness of the surgeons that I became a pediatrician instead. Nothing she says portrays about the way the doctors treat each other is over-exaggerated.

There are a lot of parts that made me laugh out loud and some brought me to tears. I remember the exhaustion, crazy hours, and horror of making mistakes and killing someone. She does a good job of portraying all these things
Queenie Ross
Aug 11, 2020 marked it as to-read
The Big Free by Dr. Martha Boone was excellent! My book club read it and we had the author join in with us on our "virtual" book club meeting. She captured it all! Years ago I worked at LSU medical school which was associated with Charity Hospital so I could identify with all that she wrote of her experiences.
I highly recommend the book.!!! After reading it, you will truly appreciate the grueling internship and residency workload (and excellent training) of a big inner city hospital. Her sense o
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent first book from Dr. Roach. The book takes us on an emotional and eye-opening journey for this proper, Southern, female surgery intern. We see how she learns about life outside of rural South Carolina from the many different people she meets (doctors, nurses, patients) and how she finds strength in herself to persevere in a tough world of men long before the me-too movement. This is an entertaining and easy book to read.
Barbara Finazzo
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it

This is one of the best novels I've read that is written by a physician. The story is real both in story and characters. The reader is taken into the world of medicine with all it's caring and excitement. All the characters are realistic and likeable. The story flowed with no dull periods. The author showed her own character and kindness with the characters and built and kept going throughout the book. This is a.thoroughly delightful book.
Paul King
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Loved This Book!!

This Book had me in page 1! It was detailed and kept me interested all the way through. This was Dr Elizabeth Roberts' experiences the first six months she studied to become a surgeon. I had missed that this book is fiction, and i was shocked to realize it! It read like it was true! I enjoyed this book maybe more than any of the 400 books I have already read on my tablet. READ THIS BOOK!!
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Meeting the author elevated this book for me- Dr. Boone is a great storyteller. Brought back a lot of memories having trained at the historic Charity hospital- Room 4s, trauma call, Angola patients, Joe’s bar and more. Lots of colorful characters and hilarious anecdotes that reflect the unique experience of being a doctor-in-training in New Orleans.
Randa sperling
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read! I felt all the ups and down Creme Puff experienced during her initial time at Charity. I had a basic understanding of Charity from watching the old ”Life in the ER” series from 90’s ( or 2000, I don't remember) but this made it very clear. I loved That the author kept the story at a medical professional level. Now I want more of the story!!!! ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although I am not in health care, I found the details in this book interesting. I have had the book for some time and avoided it thinking it would be too much like a research paper. I was pleasantly surprised. The stories were interesting and fun to read. Only 273 pages so it's easy and quick. Really loved it. ...more
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Martha B. Boone is a private practice Urologist in an Atlanta suburb. She obtained her surgical training at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She was one of the first one hundred women urologists in the world. The Big Free is her first published work of fiction and combines medical humor and historical fiction in an urban hospital.

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