Norfolk dentist's memoirs extract much humour
Retired Norfolk dentist and now church leader, Barrie Lawrence, takes a humorous look at his 40 years leaning over the dentist’s chair treating patients from heaven and the other place. Review by Kevin Gotts.
As a dentist Dr Barrie Lawrence (pictured below) had up to 40 patients a day pass through his dental surgery for a period of around four decades. The most memorable are included in his new book, “Patients from Heaven – and other places”, and whilst many are referred to as friends, others are described in different terms.
The style of writing quickly draws the reader into the stories, reflecting Barrie’s skill as an engaging and very humorous after dinner speaker. He starts with those that became friends, or had something that endeared them to him and his staff; others made them laugh, or simply left them feeling better.
Some names and certain details are changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality. There was, for example, Baron Goldfinger, dressed immaculately and driving a pristine white Bentley who seemed to step off a James Bond movie set, and Misty the flirtatious American lady, who suddenly vanished – probably murdered, said the police. Patient Johnny Cleveland (real name), local singer and comedian is endeared.
How does he depict patients from the Other Place? His belief as a born-again Christian, he says, changed everything including the way he sees other people. Courteously, he also sees this category of people with emotions, maybe struggling with relationships or finance. Chapters like “Blue Murder, a Pink Ear, Bubbles and a Bad Smell”, “Nice and Nasty” and “The Gift of the Gab” have to be read.
Barrie balances his stories with patient’s perceptions about him, with one patient calling him “a dangerous man”.
His previous title “A Dentist’s Story” concluded with an appendix of dental jokes and this time there is an appendix of anecdotes concerning encounters with members of the police force. Chapters including “The Man in Black”, “Idiot!”, “The Insurance Fraud?” and “A Carnivorous Villain” leave the reader entertained and bursting with laughter.
This book can easily be read and savoured like a meal with many courses over a period or devoured in one long sitting. Ideal as a holiday read and to pass on. Barrie’s books are available from Amazon, Jarrolds and all good booksellers.