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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Doctor Lodewyk Van Mierop is specialized in pediatric cardiology, before his retirement. Mierop writes of his fascinating life, first as a young boy born in 1927 in Indonesia, at that time known as the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Lod or Dr. Bob, as he was known in the United States, was considered Indo due to his ancestors; his father was “totok” (full blooded Chinese Indonesian) and his mother was of Dutch-Indonesian. The Dutch East Indies was very much a caste-oriented society. There wasn't a system of segregation but rather a subtle distinction made upon skin color and how Dutch was spoken. Then, in 1941, the Japanese invaded the Netherlands East Indies and Lod's hometown of Tjiandjoer saw the arrival of Japanese soldiers. At the age of 15, Lod was sent to an all-male camp called Banka and life became no more than survival until the war ended in 1945. Lod was fortunate to be able to leave NEI for Holland and to resume his education. Lod found himself in school with classmates who were only fifteen or sixteen years old. How he becomes an expert in childhood heart problems is the basis for this "Dr. Bob".
"Dr. Bob" is the detailed and exceedingly well-written story of the author's life, first as a well-born Netherlands East Indies young boy, then as a Japanese prisoner of war, and finally as an American doctor whose expertise in pediatric cardiology is renowned. Black and white photographs throughout the content help tell Dr. Bob's incredible story. Lodewyk Van Mierop’s style of writing is easy to read but the details of Dr. Bob's medical research and training will be difficult for the non-professional reader to absorb. Nonetheless, "Doctor Bob" is a remarkable story of a remarkable man and readers will appreciate the author's words.