“Susan Levenstein gives us a fascinating account of her life as an American doctor in the Eternal City, including an analysis of Italian healthcare that is both informed and terrifying. A must read for anyone who contemplates relocating to Rome—if they want to live long enough to enjoy their Italian dream.”—Matthew Kneale, author of English Passengers and Rome: A History in Seven Sackings
After completing her medical training in New York, Susan Levenstein set off for a one year adventure in Rome. Forty years later, she is still practicing medicine in the Eternal City. In Dottoressa: An American Doctor in Rome Levenstein writes, with love and exasperation, about navigating her career through the renowned Italian tangle of brilliance and ineptitude, sexism and tolerance, rigidity and chaos.
Part memoir—starting with her epic quest for an Italian medical license—and part portrait of Italy from a unique point of view, Dottoressa is packed with vignettes that illuminate the national differences in character, lifestyle, health, and health care between her two countries. Levenstein, who has been called “the wittiest internist on earth,” covers everything from hookup culture to neighborhood madmen, Italian hands-off medical training, bidets, the ironies of expatriation, and why Italians always pay their doctor’s bills.