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Ellen Allen Writes

Avid reader. Wild swimmer. Indie Author of The Sham. Collector of writing titbits (http://www.ellenallen.co) and all things bookish...

When Breath Becomes Air; over-hyped and way too sentimental

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese

I had been wanting to read Paul Kalanithi's memoir for a while, having read a rave review in the New York Times; he was an esteemed neurosurgeon, diagnosed with terminal cancer in his 30s, who wrote this memoir before his death. The reviews said it provided interesting answers to the question, "what makes a life worth living". It's well-written and clearly, Kalanithi was very talented as both a surgeon and a writer, but I found the book way too worthy and over the top (possibly because it's geared towards US audiences when us Brits tend to be a little less sentimental in our tastes, even about death...) and it just left me with more questions than answers.