Lodewyk H.S. Van Mierop, M.D.
Outskirts Press (2012)
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (2/13)
“Doctor Bob” is a fascinating and detailed autobiography of Dr. Lodewyk H.S. Van Nierop, M.D. Affectionately nicknamed “Doctor Bob” by his colleagues to simplify his complex Dutch name, he set out on an arduous three-year project to describe his life on paper.
Born on the island of Java that was known as the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) before 1945, the region is now known simply as Indonesia. He was born in the spring of 1927 to Dutch parents and had two younger sisters, Meike and Beatrix. Dr. Bob describes the much more simplified, laid-back lifestyle living in a tropical region. This simple lifestyle was shattered on several fronts, including the divorce of his parents and the Japanese invasion of the NEI in March of 1941.
After surviving several internment camps and relocations by the Japanese Army, Dr. Bob, along with his family were freed. They relocated back to The Netherlands in order to continue their education and live in a more stable political region. Despite falling two years behind in his education due to World War II, Dr. Bob worked fiercely to catch up on his education and attend medical school.
His journey continued to America while attending medical school in Albany, New York for seven years. He persevered through medical school despite not initially being fluent with the English language. During this time he married a woman named Dibby and they started their family of four children. Dr. Bob began cardiac embryology studies to help advance the field of cardiac surgery.
Another hurdle arose with his immigration status, causing Dr. Bob to relocate along with his family to McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Eventually he was allowed to return to work in the United States, eventually accepting a position at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.
Dr. Bob also delves into great detail about his hobbies, which include his gun collection, raising exotic and dangerous snakes and his love for plants. Many of his interests originated from being raised in a tropical environment.
“Doctor Bob” by Dr. Lodewyk H.S. Van Nierop, M.D., is very detailed and descriptive, giving the reader a sense of the lifestyle Dr. Bob grew up in and his educational career. I found it somewhat challenging to follow the medical terminology within the book, but the memoir flows smoothly and is a great read.