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When Breath Becomes Air: A book review and discussion

UMJM Follow Jul 30, 2021 · 1 min read
When Breath Becomes Air: A book review and discussion

Author: Karim Sidhom BSc

This review examines When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. The book is a memoir that recounts Kalanithi’s compelling story of a neurosurgeon-turned-patient after a terminal lung cancer diagnosis in his mid-thirties. Herein is an analysis of the messages Kalanithi attempts to articulate. He explores concepts brought up amidst fatal contemplations and reflections, and also calls into question the underlying assumptions that gave rise to those thoughts. The review summarizes Kalanithi’s life events, his choices, and uncovers why those choices may have come about. It also analyzes why the author elected to tell his story using styles drawing from action and poetry as opposed to academic writing. Finally, the review offers an interpretation of the final message Kalanithi and his wife, Lucy, hoped to convey to their readers.

Keywords: Paul Kalanathi, When Breath Becomes Air

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