Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


Amazon | Goodreads


What is it about?

This is not the happy book I was looking for in my last post, but it is a beautiful, well written, true story of a young neurosurgeon who has lung cancer. All of his studies and medical practice were an attempt to study the meaning of life and death. He approached this through literature, through being a doctor, and lastly and unfortunately as a patient.

Was it good?

This was written by a really smart guy with a huge vocabulary, which sometimes (especially with the medical descriptions) makes him hard to understand. For example, “Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state.” I think this means he has come to terms with the fact that he is dying, but I’m not entirely sure he doesn’t mean something else.

Despite this, the book is very engaging. I found myself very emotionally on edge throughout the whole book. Not only because of a fear that this could happen to someone who I know, but also because this book made me care about Paul. I was rooting for him and felt sad reading about his and his family’s suffering.

I think this was a very good, albeit sad, book.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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