My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A beautifully-written memoir that reminds you that Life works in mysterious ways.
As a youngster, Paul Kalanithi wanted to become a writer to come to terms with ‘the life of the mind’. Above all he wanted to understand: What makes human life meaningful?
In the end he studied neuroscience, which ‘laid down the most elegant rules of the brain’. He studied hard and worked even harder to reach the pinnacle of his residency as a neurosurgeon. Then came the shocking news: a diagnosis of lung cancer. The young doctor was about to become a patient.
Kalanithi goes on to examine what it is like to face death at the age of just 35. He is optimistic and positive throughout, but sadly his life ends before the book is finished.
Medical friends of mine balked at reading this book as they thought it would cut too close to the bone. I agree. Although I don’t class myself as superstitious, a book like this reminds us of our mortality and the fact that we are all, at any time, just one footstep away from the grave.
That said, this is a story of hope and love. It is also gratifying to realise that this first-time author discovered, at least for himself, what made life meaningful.