Friday, 11 February 2022

When Breath Becomes Air

Back in 2019, I was drawn towards non-fiction. In Audibles, I listened to Sapiens, Sleep, Automic Habits to name a few. I noticed that the book name mostly summarised the subject. So when i came across When Breath Becomes Air, I thought it is about air per se. How wrong it is to judge the book by its cover or title. 

This book is about life, death and everything in between. This is the story of dreams, aspirations and memoir of a neurosurgeon and how a terminal illness ended evrything yet kickstarted something else altogether.

The book is divided into two parts. First deals with before illness. Those pages introduce us to Paul's foray into literature and medicines, the choice he makes to pursue medicines, his experiences as a medical student, resident and practicing surgeon. There are many stories of life, death, diseases, recovery and everything in between. Although there are jargons and morbidity, there is certain earnestness in the writing that makes us empathise and most importantly understand. I was glued to his world. I wanted to know more. The unrealistic working hours and the satisfaction doctors get when they know their patient has recovered. The moral dilemma when death take over. Failures and successes. The self drive to bring a difference. Those pages helps us to understand Paul as a person. A surgeon.

Then starts his days as a patient - on the other side of the table. He understands the illness as a doctor does. He also feels anxious like a patient. This second part throes light on how Dr.Paul went through the journey of acceptance. 

The Epilogue provides some painful details of how he we ahead with writing the book, in pain. Yet determined.

This book is overwhelmingly inspiring. I love books that takes us throw the life of protagonists. Though i wished that this guy lived. He has dreams. Lot of them. Tons of plans. But everything came to an abrupt halt and a painful end. The book reiterates that taking one day at a time is the key to living. Several such days make life. 

I am so glad I picked this book and i got to know Dr. Paul. I am so proud that he never gave up on his dreams and as remarked in Epilogue: his life maybe tragic, he is not a tragedy. 

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Looks interesting.
    Nice that Dr. Paul persisted. That's all is needed in life- to keep going no matter what.