Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Heart in the Right Place

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Heart in the Right Place

A Memoir

by Carolyn Jourdan

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan X
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2007, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2008, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Carolyn Jourdan is a former U.S. Senate Counsel to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (now Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs). She has degrees from the University of Tennessee in Biomedical Engineering and Law. She lives on the family farm in East Knox County, Tennessee, and has seven stray animals (four dogs and three cats). Heart In The Right Place takes place over the course of a year in the early 1990s when her life changed dramatically when her mother, Elise Jourdan, had a heart attack and had to be hospitalized, and Carolyn returned to East Tennessee to help her father, Dr Paul Jourdan, in his Strawberry Plains medical practice.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Jourdan wrote Heart In The Right Place as a gift for her dad. As children, Carolyn and her brother David spent a lot of time in their father's office but it took coming home as an adult for her to realize the choice her father had made in serving the rural community of Strawberry Plains. Dr Paul was a true general practitioner, whatever the injury or illness he dealt with it himself, and often for free and, being the only doctor for miles around, he was also on call day and night.

"I got the idea to do public service from Momma and Daddy, but I thought they did it their way, and I was going to do it a lot bigger. So I went to Washington ... You get to dress real good, eat real good and live real good, but you don't actually see any people. It's public service from 500 miles away. The thing about Washington is you think you're a public servant, but you're not sure. But here, you know that you did something. There's a reward because there is an actual human being there. In the end, that's what I was most proud of doing."

Carolyn was prompted to begin collecting the funny stories about patients she'd heard all her life after reading All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot in 1972. She says, "I laughed and laughed until I was sick. And I thought, 'This is like Daddy's office except we have people instead of animals.' And I wished so bad that I could write something like that one day that could make other people laugh like I did."

When she began working with her father she started to jot down stories on the back of napkins in her lunch breaks.

The medical office closed in 2001 after 40 years of service to the Strawberry Plains area. Carolyn's mother, Elise, now spends much of her time working on genealogy projects and has written more than 30 books about Colonial American families. Paul still sees occasional patients, mostly the menagerie of animals on the Jourdans' East Knox County farm.

Carolyn now works as a writer and webmaster for the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a nonprofit education and publications partner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She chose to stay in East Tennessee to be with her parents and because she felt her "glitzy" life in Washington, D.C., didn't fit her anymore.

Her resume also lists her as the Founder and Director of the Nuclear Waste Documentary Project, a nonprofit scientific organization that produces educational materials on nuclear waste issues for public television, museums, and schools.

This article was originally published in August 2007, and has been updated for the August 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.