Archive

Review in THE ONION’S AV CLUB
“Aptowicz is refreshingly careful with her language, keeping the narrative speculation to a minimum, painting most of her scenery with the weight of her research. She revels in the details, but largely lets the reader draw their own conclusions. The result is an approachable history of a man and of a time period that does exactly what narrative non-fiction should do: answers the questions the reader never realized they had…” To read the full review, click here.

Review in BOOK PAGE
“While there’s something fascinating about old medical equipment and collections of oddities, it’s harder to truly appreciate the reality of life before modern surgery, let alone the ostracism and pain faced by individuals who suffered from conditions routinely corrected today. In this compelling biography of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter (1811-1850), Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz brings a poet’s sensibilities to the life of an American surgeon who was at the forefront of advances in medical education and reconstructive surgery.” To read the full review, click here.

Write-Up in ASBURY PARK PRESS
“Aptowicz’s literary history with Mütter goes back more than 15 years. Studying writing at New York University in Manhattan in the late ’90s and paying her way through college, she was always on the lookout for scholarship opportunities. One opportunity that she spotted was offered by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, offering around $4,000 to support a screenplay or theatrical play about the life of a scientist or a scientific discovery. ‘I sat down and I thought, ‘Scientifically, what story am I curious about?,’’Aptowicz recalled. ‘And the first thing that came in my head was the Mütter Museum. Because, even though I’d been there a lot in my childhood, I didn’t understand — especially now that other people would ask me questions about it when I lived in New York — why it was created, if Mütter was a person or a family or an acronym. I didn’t really know anything…’” To read the full article, click here.

Review in WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Ms. Aptowicz rescues Mütter the man from undeserved obscurity, recreating his short life and hard times with wit, energy and gusto. Her book, like the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphiar Museum, is a reminder that the course of human suffering and the progress of medical science are often messy, complex and stranger than can be imagined.” To read the full review, click here.

Mention in Pop Candy column in USA TODAY
“As a huge fan of the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, I was excited to get my hands on this rich biography of the real doctor, Thomas Mütter, a 19th-century surgeon who treated people with misunderstood conditions and amassed a fascinating collection of medical oddities…” To read the full column, click here.

Write-Up in PHILADELPHIA METRO
“For five years, Aptowicz, a Somerton native, transcribed 19th Century letters and texts for hours in the collections room on the fourth floor of Scott Memorial Library — as well as other archives across the city — in her attempt to compile the first, complete biography of the man responsible for the contents of the Mutter Museum. And — with help from her friend — the result was “Dr. Mutter’s Marvels.” Written in a nonfiction-novel format, the book weaves the backstory of Mutter, who grew into a well-respected surgeon and professor, against the evolution of modern medicine in the mid-1880s.” To read the full article, click here.

Starred Review in LIBRARY JOURNAL
“­Aptowicz (poet and former writer-in-residence, Univ. of Pennsylvania) has penned a fast-moving and popular history of the early to mid-­19th-century American and Parisian medical worlds, making the most of works by and about Mütter’s contemporaries. The book connects the dots among the doctor’s youthful dandyism, his attractiveness, his kindness toward his patients, and his fascination with what we would today call reconstructive plastic surgery, of which he was a pioneer. Mütter operated successfully on patients with cleft palate, clubfoot, burn scars, and other disfiguring conditions. One of several histories of the museum was written by Gretchen Worden (Mütter Museum, 2002), the author’s mentor, but this is the first bio­graphy of Mütter.” To read the full review, click here.

Mention in Wyatt’s World column in PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY
“Aptowicz pens a fascinating and muscular biography of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, splendidly re-creating the doctor’s medical advancements, the age in which he worked, and the conditions and practices he sought to change. The Philadelphia museum that bears Mütter’s name and houses the vast collections he amassed to aid his practice and teaching is a great, if creepy, destination for all those who become fascinated by Aptowicz’s account…” To read the full column, click here.

Write-Up in THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS
“Aptowicz said that she wanted to provide a history of Dr. Mutter that read more like a novel than a dry medical article. ‘I believe that Mutter’s story is made to inspire a mainstream audience,’ Aptowicz said, in a phone interview. ‘I wanted to tell that story in a way that was most appealing and most engaging to that audience.’ To read the full article, click here.

Galley Talk Review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Mütter did not just establish a museum of “marvels”—specimens, wax figures, and other educational pieces he collected; he was a marvel himself. He was an excellent professor and a caring doctor. Aptowicz approaches her subject with passion and finesse, so that the book to reads more like fiction than nonfiction, ensuring that it will appeal to a wide audience.” To read the full review, click here.

Starred Review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Performance poet Aptowicz turns her attention to the birth of modern American Medicine, and the atonishing degree that it was influenced by one man, in this moving and delicately crafted biography…” the review reads, “Aptowicz shows Müt­ter, beloved by his students, evoling from a mischievous, impatient young doctor to an increasingly spiritual man beset by premature illness, and her writing is as full of life as her subject.” To read the full review, click here.

Starred Review in KIRKUS REVIEWS
“In her deftly crafted narrative, the author provides an absorbing account of the charismatic surgeon’s life and career as well as a vivid look at the medical practices and prejudices of his time. His students adored him, and the disfigured flocked to him… Aptowicz draws nicely on Mütter’s speeches and lectures to reveal the depth of his empathetic philosophies and humanist approach… Mütter’s healing work inspired former students, from the celebrated Civil War surgeon Jonathan Letterman to the pharmaceutical manufacturer E.R. Squibb. His life story will move many readers.” The Kirkus Star is one of the most prestigious designations in the book industry, used to help readers “discover books of exceptional merit.” To read the full review, click here.

April 5, 2014 — THE YEAR OF NO MISTAKES is spotlighted on NPR’s STATE OF THE RE:UNION

Cristin is honored and thrilled to her book, THE YEAR OF NO MISTAKES, be the inspiration for a gorgeously produced segment of Al Letson’s NPS show, STATE OF THE RE:UNION, including audio clip cameos from some of her favorite NYC poets, including Beau Sia, Taylor Mali and Evert Eden, as well as selections of Cristin’s own poems. To here the segment in its entirety, click here.

April 1, 2014 — THE YEAR OF NO MISTAKES is reviewed in BUST

Poet and actress Amber Tamblyn reviewed Cristin’s latest poetry book, The Year of No Mistakes, in the April / May 2014 issue of BUST Magazine. In her review, Tamblyn writes, “Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz leaves no nerve unturned with her latest collection, The Year of No Mistakes, an impressive saga of growth and transformation. Her poems follow a long-term relationship through its many geographical, physical and emotional incarnations until a new romance blossoms in its place… The Year of No Mistakes doesn’t just take you from pot of gold to pot of gold–it lets you lick every layer of color that arches high in between.” To read the full review, snag the latest issue of BUST with Amy Schumer on the cover!