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When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi X
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
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  • Published:
    Jan 2016, 256 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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When Breath Becomes Air
A little boring at first but just wait.

The patient, the surgeon, the family, the friends--one reads about and feels it from each perspective. And, the feelings reach down to a deep level.
Lynne Sales

Touching memoir
Young, talented, hardworking neurosurgeon is diagnosed with lung cancer. This is his memoir about his pursuit of the meaning of life, and death, while continuing to treat patients who themselves are facing life threatening illnesses. Contemplative and sad, bud well worth the read.
Jody Fitzpatrick

REview: When Breath becomes Air
Having heard and read much about this book, I was disappointed in reading it. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Most of the book was about the details of neurosurgery and didn't relate sufficiently to his purpose of learning more about death. How was he learning more a bout death as a neurosurgeon, other than seeing it? learning how it occurred physiologically? He does occasionally allude to how his fascination with the surgery led him to forget his main goal, learning more about death and life. Further, I'm not sure he made the right choices for a dying man or for any man. Why work this hard, particularly after he has experienced cancer? For him, it's because he loves his work. You also feel he, unknowingly, has something to prove. His arrogance about the profession or neurology and his own performance in it (which was great but is too much the focus) is troublesome and affects how I think about his conclusions. He's not the only neurosurgeon who can compete this work, so why does he feel he's needed so much? Further, other than the mandates of hospitals and medical schools, there is no reason to work this many hours. It may, in fact, hinder the care given to patients because of physician's fatigue. I'm sorry that he didn't lead a more balanced life and that he does not recognize the problems of putting life off when death arrives. He doesn't seem to advocate changing the system. So, I guess he would miss much of life again. Perhaps that's a good choice for the work you love, but I had expected further discussion of these choices.
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Beyond the Book:
  Lung Cancer

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