The book thoroughly describes the life of doctors, from their childhood to their proffessional practice. It goes through the life of six characters, being the core of the plot the relationship between two of them: Laura and Barney.
Barney, born in Brooklyn, son of a teacher and a librarian, losses his father due to the war and finds his father figure in his neighbour, Laura´s father. Laura´s family, spanish refugees, daughter of a doctor who tries hard to practice in USA, losses her sister in the hands of polio.
Both become close friends and remain together all through Harvard Med School, making friends with all kinds of people:
-Ben Landsmann: black, adopted by a jew couple after the loss of his father in WW2.
-Grete Andersen, a sex bomb
-Hank Dwyer, devoted catholic who sees his values change
-Seth Lazarus, shy and sensitive. His feelings will lead him to dark passages.
The lives of this six doctors are explained in detail while they go through their careers, their choices regarding specialties, the frinedship that bounds them and their love life. Barney and Laura remain so close that they end up together and with a child of their own.