Book review: “The Empathy Exams’’ by Leslie Jamison – The Boston Globe

Each of the 11 essays in a Leslie Jamison’s brilliant collection, “The Empathy Exams,’’ touches, in one way or another, on ideas of empathy (which implies pain, victimization, sensitivity) and voice (which implies creativity, agency, expression).

‘My job is medical actor,” writes Leslie Jamison at the start of her new book’s title essay, “which means I play sick.” The job requires Jamison to assume the role of a patient — memorizing an imaginary person’s biography and complaints, answering medical students’ questions, offering only what is asked of her — so that future doctors can better inhabit their own roles.