Son of a Dress Maker: Life and Struggle of a Foreign Medical Graduate in USA
Dr. Carlos Cruz Soriano, M.D. FACAS (Retired)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (5/11)
The panorama of the history of emigrants to this country is rich with the detailed accounts of their experiences and their entire lives. Throughout their storied tapestries run the common threads of hard work and education. The importance of these traits for educated emigrants to America after World War II, many of whom achieved social and financial success within the span of a single generation, is the theme of “Son of a Dress Maker: Life and Struggle of a Foreign Medical Graduate in USA.”
This autobiography – which often reads like an informal diary, sometimes like a highly-detailed journal – offers the story of Dr. Carlos Cruz Soriano, M.D. (retired). His account spans the period from his childhood in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, to his retirement in Florida in 2004, at the conclusion of his long and diverse medical career in America. Dr. Soriano writes of those who shaped his life, especially his family, with love and respect, and he recounts his service to the medical, patient, Filipino-American, and local communities which he served during his career with an immense amount of pride. And, as with so many emigrants who have prospered in this country, Dr. Soriano celebrates the diversity and character of America and the positive impact it had on him.
The author weaves the wisdom of his elders throughout the book, especially the wisdom imparted to him by his late grandmother. “Before I left for the States, I had a long talk with my grandmother…All the teachings and advice she gave me stayed with me, developed my character, and molded me into the person I am now.” He also sows his on seeds of wisdom for the benefit of his children, grandchildren and readers. “Wisdom is defined as knowledge and experience combined. I would add to that definition common sense.”
The autobiography and memoir genres have enjoyed a burst in popularity in this country in recent years. We have become a nation that is hungry for stories of real people and events, as well as famous people. Dr. Soriano is not famous. And, while his life may seem ordinary to many, Dr. Soriano himself is, in some ways, an extraordinary man, although he views himself as “… just a driven and motivated person, whose life is ruled by honesty and integrity – and indeed, a lot of common sense.” I have a liking for ordinary people. I would personally recommend “Son of a Dress Maker” ahead of any book that has already been written, or will be written, about famous “driven and motivated” people like Bernard Madoff or Donald Trump.