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When Breath Becomes Air

A book review by Conrrado Saldivar

“What happened to Paul was tragic, but he was not a tragedy.”
–Lucy Kalanithi

A rising star in neurosurgery at the age of 36, Dr. Paul Kalanithi is faced with a terminal diagnosis: stage IV lung cancer. What does dying teach us about living? Kalanithi takes us on a journey through his life, from his childhood, to medical school, to meeting the love of his life, and gives insight into how literature shaped how he sees the world. The story flows between the past and present, providing a chance of relief when emotions run high. Kalanithi passed away in March 2015, but his legacy, wife, and daughter will live on.

For readers who need to heal after loss, those who enjoyed The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, this inspiring memoir weaves literature and hope into a life taken too soon.

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