“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi – a Book Review

If you want to read how one faced death because of a terminal illness, this is a book that would keep you reading to the end. It is not morbid and sadly I somehow enjoyed reading it as if the writer was creating a make-believe story.

This was a real life story written by Paul Kalanithi, a brilliant and promising neurosurgeon. As brilliant as a neurosurgeon, Dr Paul Kalanithi was also passionate about literature and literary pursuits. He wrote his journey through life and more in the year leading to his demise at age 37 in 2015. His wife, Lucy ended the book for him with her epilogue of his dying days and days after his death.

Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Suddenly, his life turned from a doctor treating others to a patient being treated by others. I read plain and direct writing as to how one cope with life with death hanging over one’s head.

As I finished the last page of the book, I did not feel sad for Paul Kalanithi but more in a contemplative mood. I wondered how I would face death when it comes. Would I take it well like Paul? Would I regret about living this life? Would I fear death because of the unknown after death? Would I be brave to go through medical treatments?

Paul Kalanithi gave me hope and death is just an inevitable end of this current human existence. Live it well and live each day as it comes.

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