Friday 12 May 2017

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes AirWhen Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 2 days

Publisher - Bodley Head

Pages - 228

Blurb from Goodreads

What makes a virtuous and meaningful life? Paul Kalanithi believed that the answer lay in medicine’s most demanding specialization, neurosurgery. Here are patients at their life’s most critical moment. Here he worked in the most critical place for human identity, the brain. What is it like to do that every day; and what happens when life is catastrophically interrupted?

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable reflection on the practice of medicine and the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

With a foreword by Dr Abraham Verghese and an epilogue by the author’s wife, Lucy.

My Review

A neurosurgeon, brilliant, talented, educated, a man touching and saving the lives of others. When all his hard work is coming to fruition and finally getting where he wants to be at the end of all his training life strikes a blow. Paul is diagnosed with cancer, going from physician to patient, from providing care to receiving it his whole life is turned upside down. This is his story from both sides of the fence, first as a practitioner and then to being on the receiving end of the table.

The first half of the book starts with Paul's diagnosis but quickly goes to his days learning his trade and what sparks his interest in becoming a neurosurgeon. I love a book where you learn about things, conditions, parts of the body, real life cases. Then we go to the more emotive side of the story, Paul's story and journey from diagnosis and the aftermath. Choices, decisions, grief stages, interacting with colleagues and how to go about life when everything you know has completely changed.

Informative, emotive, honest and a stark look at the path one takes when life pulls the rug out from under you. We all react different to things in our life and I think Paul's reaction and battle is one that shows just how amazing and strong some human beings can be in the face of personal trials. I hope this book brings some comfort to his family and helps show just how strong and brave one man can be, 4/5 for me for this one. It had sat on my tbr for ages and I wish I had read it sooner.

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  1. I have heard good things about this book. It sounds so moving yet fascinating. Modern medicine is such an interesting topic in and of itself. The author's losing battle with cancer is poignant and sounds like it is an important thing to read about. I would like to give this book a read.

  2. Lainy, this sounds like an incredible story and book. Wonderful review!

  3. This one sounds both informative and moving. Fantastic post. I need to add this to my wishlist.

  4. This looks good. It also looks like something doctors should read as well. I always think that docs should know what it is like on the other side. Brilly review!


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