“When Breath Becomes air” Review

Just as Paul Kalanithi’s future looked bright, cancer struck.  As a doctor (neurosurgeon) he knew all too well what he was about to face, and guided by his oncologist, had to make difficult life choices.  Kalanithi bravely decided to commit his journey to paper, offering an inside glimpse of illness from the eyes of a physician turned patient.  th-1

When Breath Becomes air is eloquently written: more a philosophy book than a memoir.  Kalanithi’s passion for literature is evident throughout his writing.

As is my practice, I listened to the audiobook version which featured the narration of Sunil Malhotra and Cassandra Campbell, both effective voices for the context.

There is so much more to this story that just the narrative of a dying man:  Kalanithi dares to ask the big questions, and strives to find the answers.  As a sufferer of chronic illness, listening to Kalanithi’s story felt like an intimate discussion with a close personal friend.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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