Book Review

Juwon Ojomo

The book I read for my midterm project was “No Boundaries”, an autobiography about Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall. Leffall’s autobiography depicts Leffall’s journey to becoming a medical doctor and how he was able to overcome so many obstacles to achieve his goal. The autobiography is structured in several chapters consisting of various points of Leffall’s life. The book has fourteen chapters with each chapter talking about a particular moment or period of time in his career. Chapter 1 discusses a key principle that Leffall had followed throughout his surgical career,” Aequanimitas” or “ equanimity under duress” which is being able to be calm and put together during times of distress. Dr. Leffall narrated his family background and his childhood as well as how his father was his biggest inspiration. He discusses how his foundation as a child was the importance of education that was drilled into him and his sister from his parents.  Although there is no argument in any of the book, Dr. Leffall discusses how certain values are important such as patience and humility and throughout the autobiography he proves how these values are important when it comes it various point in his journey as a physician.

            I think this book was very relevant to this course because it puts a visual or real life story to some of the topics we have discussed in class this semester. I think is book is relevant to our class because it depicts the life a black physician that went to medical school and began practicing medicine at time whereby black physicians had little opportunities in becoming doctors, going to medical school, and even being able to practice after they graduated medical school. In the book, when Dr. Leffall had to decide where he would like to go for medical school he had the two choices of Meharry and Howard, which were two important medical schools in training black physicians prior to abolishment of segregation in America. Also in Dr. Leffall’s autobiography he talked about how intern opportunities where limited just as we discussed in class. Another thing Dr. Leffall mentioned was the importance of being involved in professional organizations. Dr. Leffall became the president of the American Cancer Society and the Society of Surgeons. 

I thought this book was very amazing. One thing I personally liked about Dr. Leffall’s autobiography was that it did not necessarily feel like I was reading an autobiography. His narrative was not just the statement of facts but felt more like I was reading a novel with interesting chapter titles and many stories. This autobiography definitely put a lot of things into perspective for me. One, thing I liked about the story of Dr. Leffall’s life was the fact that he constantly mentioned that there was so much more to being a doctor than just having a lot of knowledge and being able to cure people of their ailments. He emphasized the importance of having a great personality and good character. I think this made me think of him as a superb being because he cared about the importance of personal relationships and he oozed humility through his words. Another thing that I loved about Dr. Leffall was the fact that he dedicates a lot of his time to teaching medical students certain values that transcend the normal curing/ healing aspect of physicians. One thing that I admired over everything else in Dr. Leffall’s autobiography was the fact that he attributed most of his success to his father who regarded education as essential life. I liked that even after his father passed away he still remembered and followed his father’s words of wisdom.  This book enhanced my knowledge of African- American health disparities in America by mentioning that breast cancer and colon cancer occur at very high rates in the African-American community than others. Another thing that I connected with was the point in his life where he went to Nigeria and helped his friend teach medical students and help with caring for patients. I personally would like to Nigeria and start my own practice to help decrease/ eliminate various health disparities.