For March, my book club read Maximum Insecurity. Here’s a little description:
After three decades as a successful ear surgeon, William Wright, MD is bored beyond belief. He dabbles with retirement, but finds idleness infuriating. He has to do something.
Then he sees an ad for a doctor’s position from the Colorado Department of Corrections at a supermax prison. Now that, he thinks, would be different. His wife has some thoughts on the matter too. She thinks her husband just lost his mind and is on a collision course with a prison shiv.
After his first day on the job, he wonders if she wasn’t onto something. His first patient is an arrogant, callous youth convicted of five cold-blooded murders. Dr. Wright has to steel himself not to bolt.
Nothing prepares a doctor for life at the Colorado State Penitentiary. He quickly discovers treating maximum security convicts is like treating recalcitrant murderous four-year-olds. Always willing to threaten their doctors with bodily harm, they are more interested in scamming drugs than treatment.
Told with self-depreciating humor and scathing wit, Maximum Insecurity describes Dr. Wright’s adventures practicing medicine in a supermax correctional facility without, he’s glad to say, getting killed even once.
I will start by saying, not only did I not like the book, no one in book club did either. The idea for the story was very interesting. It was the execution that wasn’t up to par. The writing was poor. And the author had a very low opinion of everyone around him (not just the prisoners). One friend made the comment that this would have been such an interesting story had it been written from the perspective of the nurses, guards, administration, etc. and not just this one hot-headed doctor. He acts as though he’s the smartest one there even though he came into this as an ENT and had to look up just about everything that came through him.
I was hoping I would like it. I find prisons fascinating and with a relative in the prison system (although, not in a supermax prison), I was hoping to like the book more than I did. So it wasn’t my favorite book, but I did learn a few things (even from his skewed point of view). This isn’t a book I would recommend you read. Stick to something else.