Monday, 5 February 2018

When Breath Becomes Air by: Paul Kalanithi

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Published: January 19, 2016 by: Random House
Pages: 208
Rating: 4/5 stars

At the age of 36, Paul Kalanithi is at the top of his game. He has just completed decades worth of training and is now an accomplished neurosurgeon. That is, until he's not. Paul is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and now, with perhaps just a year to live, he and his wife's lives are turned upside down. In this moving memoir, Paul reflects on what it's like to carry on with such a devastating diagnosis, and, while he died before the memoir was finished, his wife finishes the story and tells of her husband's triumphs in the face of death.

This memoir was sad. It kinda reminded me of Tuesday's With Morrie in the sense the we hear a dying man's perspective of life and loss, and this was a refreshing take on it. It was really interesting to hear the perspective of a neurosurgeon, of someone whose life depended on science, and now he is faced with philosophical questions that rattle his mind. It was a very moving memoir.

This memoir was short and very captivating in just 200 pages. It was easy to follow and didn't rattle my brain with hard-hitting stuff. It was sad, but it didn't leave me feeling just completely down on myself.

That being said, I'm not the biggest non-fiction reader, so I don't think I enjoyed this book quite as much as I would a fiction novel. Still, it was really good if you're looking for a short, heartfelt read.

Have you read When Breath Becomes Air? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. I've been hearing about this book quite a bit recently, and I have yet to pick it up. It sounds like a good book and I would love to read it eventually. Thanks for sharing your review.

    1. You definitely should read it! I hope you'll pick it up, Abby :)

  2. Sounds like a heavy topic - good to see that you didn't find it too difficult a read though.

    1. Yeah, I'm really glad it didn't completely weigh me down :)