Throughout the ages, people have been inspired, soothed, warned, informed, encouraged, and transformed by stories. The most powerful stories, those lasting tales that enthralled whole societies, became the myths, legends, and archetypes that shaped history. Author and physician Leslie Masters is a passionate storyteller with great respect for the transformative and healing power of story. While she lays no claim to the creation of myth, she does hope that, by honestly telling her own tale, she might inspire others with the boldness and courage it takes to tell one’s personal truth. In the process, she joins the lineage of “wounded healers,” servants of humanity who are themselves broken and flawed, yet who work to bring others to wholeness.
“Our stories are all we really have to give to each other,” Masters writes. “…By opening our souls and sharing our stories we join together in an ever compassionate community, each unique and yet the same, imperfect, scratched, dented, human and, yes, Holy. I heal by telling. I learn by listening. As I tell you my story I am healing and I am giving part of myself to you.”
Masters was a bright, vibrant teen whose life was changed by an automobile accident that took the life of a friend, and nearly claimed hers as well. The scars she bears on her body are displayed on the cover of her book, a stripping down that some may find disturbing. A deeper, more humbling stripping down comes with the revelation that she became addicted to the pain medication she needed to be able to function as a physician and single mother. The pressures of her medical career, an ex-husband who held their daughter hostage, and the need to hide it all from the world are also part of Masters’ story, as is her process of recovery.
The author alternates a conversational writing style that allows for both the whisper and the rant with more philosophical text, and though she is adept in both styles of writing, her passion is most evident in the former. The book would benefit from careful editing to improve word usage and flow, and it is suggested that some of the more didactic sections be tightened up or eliminated; engaging the services of a good proofreader would correct the book’s typographical errors. The personal nature of the book may limit its appeal, but addiction recovery and women’s empowerment groups may find that it fosters dialogue and discussion, and writers studying the memoir genre may find the author’s approach helpful.
Leslie Masters is a physician who owns and operates the Masters Clinic, a Cosmetic Medicine facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She earned her MD from the University of Minnesota, and did her post-graduate training in pathology, internal medicine, and medical oncology at the University of Arizona.