Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


An American Checkup

James McManus; read by Patrick Frederic

Macmillan Audio


Digital Audio


Macmillan Audio

Macmillan Audio


ISBN: 9781593978112


Apple iTunes

A wild ride through the dark heart of American health and health care, plus sex, drugs, and stem-cell wars.

PHYSICAL is the story of a hard-living, happily married, middle-aged American (the author) who gets a three-day "executive checkup" at the Mayo Clinic and is thereby forced to confront his mortality, not to mention glove-wearing doctors and the pair of dominatrix-esque technicians who supervise his stress test quite strictly. James McManus must understand his revised actuarial odds in the light of his not-so-long-lived forebears and the fact that his youngest children are only six and five years old. He has to survive his own cardiovascular system, inherited habits, and genetic handicaps long enough to see Bea and Grace into adulthood. But with so much at stake, and in spite of his terror of death, he may not have the willpower to follow the Mayo clinicians' advice.

On a related health front, McManus's twenty-nine-year-old daughter, Bridget, has lived with juvenile diabetes since she was four, and the Bush Administration's opposition to the stem-cell research that could save her life makes him feel like he "might have to do something rash." Meanwhile, should he have a vasectomy? Or try for another child, having lost his only son? How much longer will he be able to perform such manly feats without Viagra? Is his grateful wife sleeping with the brilliant opthalmological surgeon who saved their daughter's vision?

PHYSICAL negotiates the political and medical forks in the labyrinth of our health care system and calls for sanity and enlightenment in the stem-cell research wars. It's a no-holds-barred, wrenching, often hilarious portrait of the looming mortality of a privileged generation that can't believe the party's winding down, if not over.



Physical by James McManus--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from James McManus' book Physical: An American Checkup. When hard-living, middle-aged American writer James McManus gets a three-day executive checkup at the Mayo Clinic, he is immediately forced to confront his mortality. Will he survive his own cardiovascular system and genetic inheritance long enough to see his young daughters grow up?


Praise for Physical

“Irresistible . . . His prose is flashy, funny, and unexpectedly erudite . . . the writer's equivalent of a royal flush.” —Time on Positively Fifth Street

“Exhilarating . . . As tension-packed as any thriller . . . A great story. James McManus bet big and won.” —The New York Times Book Review (cover review) on Positively Fifth Street

“Astounding . . . Wildly entertaining.” —Men's Journal on Positively Fifth Street

“An engaging portrait of the tournament from the inside. It's made all the more effective by the author's own reading. His voice has a touch of weariness that helps color passages about the almost endless hours at the poker table. Because McManus is a novelist, he has a strong sense of pacing. And because he is a poet, he is adept at effective word choice. Both are especially effective in the audio version of his book.” —AudioFile magazine on Positively Fifth Street

“Highly rewarding, an entertaining, informative and dramatic yarn, full of twists and turns and sweaty palms, read all the more convincingly by an author who's not just acting the part.” —Dallas Morning News on Positively Fifth Street

About the author

James McManus; read by Patrick Frederic

JAMES McMANUS is the author of Positively Fifth Street (FSG, 2003) and four novels, including Going to the Sun, winner of the Carl Sandburg Award. In 2001 he received the Peter Lisagor Award for sports journalism. His writing appears in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Esquire, and Harper's, and has been widely anthologized. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

PATRICK FREDERIC has narrated many audiobooks, including James McManus' Physical, Max Barry's Jennifer Government, and Timothy Naftali's George H. W. Bush: The American Presidents Series. Frederic has also appeared in various films, including 200 Cigarettes, Another Bed, and The Big Easy. His television work includes guest roles on Chappelle's Show, Law & Order, and Saturday Night Live. On stage, he has appeared in such shows as Perfect Crime, Measure for Measure, and Sex, Religion, Politics.

James McManus

Copyright Aynsley Floyd

James McManus

Patrick Frederic

From the Publisher

Macmillan Audio

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