“Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living..”
TITLE: WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR
AUTHOR: Paul Kalanithi
GENRE: Auto-Biography, Non-Fiction
PUBLICATION: January 19th 2016, Random House
PAGES: 256 Pages, Hardcover
RATING: 5/5 ApplePie!
See Also: The Fault in our Stars by John Green
‘Imagine being ill and dying slowly, without knowing how long you can hold your breath.’
When Breath Becomes Air is an intellectual and deeply emotional memoir, written by a young man, ‘Paul Kalanithi’, with so much heart, so much empathy, so much pain. The book was finalist in ‘2017 Pulitzer Prize awards’ for Biography or Autobiography and also was New York Times bestseller, spending 68 weeks on the non-fiction bestseller list.
It has been quite some time since I read this book, yet I’m still struggling to not cry, and as I write this I feel an immense amount of pain and loss. But that should not be the reason for you to not read this small yet very powerful book. You should read this book for Paul Kalanithi, for his strength, for his resilience, and for everything he has done to the lives he touched.
When Breath Becomes Air is composed of exactly two halves, the before and the after. It is deeply moving and life-affirming account of a doctor who trained and studied all his life, nearly became a writer, then chose to become a doctor instead and is diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of his training.
Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who, at the young age of thirty-six, makes the transition from doctor to patient when he was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer.
One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Personally, I found it rewarding, emotional, funny at times, and inspiring. A beautiful book that is a little bit about dying, but more about being alive. There were times I felt tears forming in my eyes, and other times I read a passage several times to ponder what the author was expressing. I can’t think of another book that brought me so close to the soul of another person.
“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” An Inspiring, philosophical, heartbreaking, yet powerful book, bigger on the inside than its on the outside. Highly, Highly Recommended..
And my most favorite lines from this book –
‘Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.’
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
P.S. Grab a box of tissues because I definitely did the ugly cry. 😛
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