San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves - "anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times" and needed extended medical care - ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed for 20 years. Laguna Honda, lower-tech but human-paced, gave Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of attentive medicine that has almost vanished.
"Absolutely fascinating memoir"