Five Days at Memorial

Want to read something shocking and though-provoking?  Something that will make you by turns angry and sad?  I finished Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink and it hits all those feelings. It is a book about Katrina and the people who died and survived at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans.  It is, at times, hard to read.  Fink does a great job of portraying the horrible conditions after the hurricane.  I can hardly imagine it.  If there is a clear-cut villain, it's the parent company of Memorial.  While I know I wouldn't have made the same decisions as some of the medical staff purportedly did, the doctors and nurses should have never gotten to the point where those decisions were even considered. 

Also, I know I don't normally talk about art or covers on this blog but I have to say I really love this cover.  It is so simple but so striking.  Everybody knows what water damaged paper looks like and the book really looks like it's been sitting in 3 inches of water.  That being said, I would have loved some pictures inside the book!  I can understand that the author may have been unable to get pictures of the various people involved, on both sides, and even why patient families might not want to allow their relatives to be shown, but I can't believe location shots were also out of bounds.  I know a bit about getting around in New Orleans and was able to follow the locations but someone who hadn't been down there a good bit might have issues.  

Overall though, this book is very good and feels really important.  Highly recommended, a 7. 


  1. Agreed. This is one if the finest nonfiction offerings I've read in a LONG time. So harrowing !


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