When Breath Becomes Air - Most Meaningful Book (so far) of 2016 -
I don't know if Lucy, Paul's wife, will ever read this review, but I want her to know that Paul's remarkable journey has made me a better person for reading such a beautiful tale of life, love, family, friends and hope.
Lucy, you are just as brave as Paul. Your words brought me to tears - not tears so much of sadness but joy. Joy that a wife, a partner, a best-friend, has not only the courage to stay and be supportive and loving in good times as well as bad, but even afterwards, when I'm sure sometimes the weight of the past would seem heavy to most, you use that weight to propel you forward. To propel Paul's message and meaning forward.
By telling his story, Paul will perhaps touch more lives in a positive way than perhaps he ever would had he continued on this earthly plane. I am sure Cady will miss her father, but I have no doubts with such a strong mother and family, she is blessed. Indeed, anyone reading and understanding this book is blessed, and hopefully a bit stronger and wiser. THANK YOU.
For The Potential Readers of this book:
It it uplifting. It is beautiful. I read it in a day, bookmarked and highlighted many passages.
Two words kept coming up and standing out: striving and hope.
Striving is what makes our life meaningful and hope is what propels us forward.
Though not a religious book (and I'd describe myself as spiritual, not following a formal religion), I appreciated Paul's explanation of his religious growth and why, as a student of science he turned away from religion, only to realize it's because of science that, in an educated observation coupled with experience, religion is not just possible, but also probable.
Please don't get me wrong, this book is not about religion, rarely mentions it, but when he does, he does so in such a way, that it's concise, to the point, and is non-confrontational.
My only criticism, and I hate to mention any, but for me, the only thing that took away from the book was the foreword by Abraham Verghese. A reader can skip this and miss nothing. The foreword seemed to be more about Verghese than Paul, and I was frustrated by it, worried it might be a preview of things to come (a bit elitist, a bit superior, a bit cold). However, as soon as I started to read the Prologue, I was entranced with Paul, his journey, his insights, his courage, his love, his humility, his intelligence, his love for family, indeed, for life.
This really is not a book so much about cancer as it is about how to live life with courage, with meaning, and with joy.
Most meaningful book I've read all year.