When Breath Becomes Air

This autobiography is by Paul Kalanithi. Usually I don’t read autobiographies but this one was too much hyped and after reading it I got to know why. The writing style of author is quite neat, reflective, meditative and well structured which is a very remarkable quality of a writer. A very powerful and gasping book that makes you question about our morality and the quality of life that we are living and how well we are performing as a part of society. If someone wonders about interwoven connection between life through literature, philosophy and mechanism of brain, you must read this. I am pretty sure when you will finish this book and put it aside, you will have a lot of food for thought because in simple terms this book tells us that live a good enough to be remembered after death. No wonder why it was the bestseller for almost 51 weeks and even Bill Gates read and reviewed it.

This book encapsulate a complete life journey of a man (Paul himself) who died at a very young age of 38. You see this makes this book more engaging because writer has already died nearly when he finished the book. It really gets emotional at some points specially end but it gives us meaningful lessons too and one of them is how to embrace death. Paul started his studies as a literature graduate but he was keen to get the answer of this very old question of “what makes human life meaningful” so he started studying human biology along with literature to find answers. When all this failed to give him a satisfactory answer he decided to become a surgeon and get to know patients deeply to understand their suffering and pain, what impacts life long diseases leave on humans, how death scares away the life and take out how human life matters and how can you make it matter. He chose this way of this connotation because life’s true worth is only understood by a patient who has so less of it left. Not only Paul’s skills and intelligence but also his empathy made him an exceptional doctor. He always made himself available for his patients even after a long hectic day.

When his career was at peak, at the age of 36 he was diagnosed with stage IV lungs cancer. When he came to know about his life coming to end he started looking back at his choices and also what he will leave to his family after death. His wife was very supportive throughout his life journey and they were blessed with a baby girl. He came to a conclusion that suffering and striving are the main components of human existence. One cannot control the timing of death but we can at least control the way of living while we are alive. This book will leave you in tears when you come to know writer died by the end of book but it gives us much more to reflect as well. It sheds light on patient-doctor relationship that must be taught in every medical school. A doctor’s duty is not just to physically treat the disease but also provide mentally will power to fight with the disease. There is also spiritual discussion on concept of science and its shortcomings to give meaning to love, hope and God.

A huge part of this book is about how Paul treated his patients as neurosurgeon which becomes boring at some time (not criticizing the deceased author, just the part of book). People from medical field must read this book and it will be their spiritual guide. We all should keep in mind that God doesn’t expects us to be perfect with just a snap of fingers, rather He wants us to be striving for perfection, He wants us to be consistent in our struggles for a better life. Again, the span of life is not in any human’s hand but peculiarity can be πŸ™‚

My favorite quote from this book was “Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living” πŸ™‚
Let me know yours ❀

Published by aamnasbookshelf

Hey everyone! My name is Aamna. I like to read books a lot. My favorite animal is cat (but I don't have one). I write reviews about books I read to pen down how I feel about them, in hopes that it'll help someone else out as well. My favorite genre is romance. I would love to read your views and suggestions. Oh and I like my coffee black!

5 thoughts on “When Breath Becomes Air

  1. Loved reading your review. I am sure the book would be an awesome read. Although very different, it kindled memories of ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch, I read a few years ago. Your review and the quote at the end were both remarkable. Keep reviewing, will surely go through this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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