Dr. Paul Kalanithi was on the verge of completing his residency to become the neurosurgeon he always dreamed of being, when he noticed that he was losing weight and a persistent back ache was making it hard to get through his shifts. He went to see a doctor and when the X rays came back they seemed fine, so he just kept on going. But just a few weeks later the pain in his back had become almost intolerable and he was losing weight dramatically; from 175 to 145 pounds. He had also developed a persistent cough. He was a doctor, and his wife, Lucy, was an internist. There was little doubt now. It was cancer and this time the X-rays confirmed it: stage IV lung cancer. He was 36 years old.
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, this is the true story of ones man’s journey towards death. A story of a doctor who became a patient, a husband, who as he is dying became a father and a man who on realizing that he would never achieve the goals he has set for himself, must now figure out how to live with integrity the life he has left to live. It is a story of a life stripped to its bare essentials. A philosophical journey with heightened urgency, trying to answer the questions; “What is a good and virtuous life?” and “What is a good death?”
Powerfully written in simple prose, this is a life stripped bare of anything nonessential to living or dying. The questions Kalanithi raises are both universal, and so very individual to him and to the life that remains to him. Yet strangely his words are uplifting, comforting and challenging. We see our own mortality clearly through his experience and that gives us hope that we too can find a path to living fully and dying with grace. Profound and humorous, honest and insightful it is a story that lingers long after you read the final sentence.
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 Out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Keith, Lauren, Marian and Ken.
Book Study Worthy: Yes!
Read in print format.