Confessions of a Medical Student charts 20-year-old Ben Adler’s tragic-comic journey from home to med-school and the world beyond. Callow and impressionable, Ben leaves his over-anxious Russian-Jewish parents in their Toronto drugstore, and Angie, his girlfriend whom he plans to marry against his parents’ wishes. In anatomy, Ben dissects his cadaver, ‘Clive’, with lab-mates. As the first blush of med-school fades, Ben learns of his father’s life-threatening illness. Cash-poor, Ben enlists in the Navy to earn room and board, joins Lenny’s Underground Railroad for draft-dodgers, jeopardizing studies and provoking his ill father’s scorn. The novel chronicles the tumultuous years 1966-1971 through the eyes of a naïve, sentimental student striving to move beyond family, self, and place. Ben careens from mistake to mistake over four years, yet at the novel’s end he emerges with self-knowledge and a touch of worldly pain and wisdom.
Ronald Ruskin is a psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Hospital, and associate professor and training and supervising analyst at Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis. He has co-edited texts on psychotherapy supervision, as well as on humanities and medicine, such as his 2011 book Body and Soul. He is a founding editor of Ars Medica, a medical-humanities journal, published over forty-five stories in literary and medical journals, and written a thriller entitled The Last Panic, and The Analyst Who Laughed to Death, the tragic-comic story of a tormented analyst who never escaped childhood.