This is a deeply moving memoir by Paul Kalanithi. This is
also a beautifully written book.
Before I read the book, I had an idea that this may be a
very depressing book, as a terminally diseased person discusses about life in
the book. However, though the part about Paul’s foreseeable and close death was
depressing, but the actual content of this book – talking about what makes life
worth living and how to live when facing death, is motivating, and inspiring. I
am moved by his attitude towards death – knowing that he would only have a
short time to live, his great strength and good heart drove him to write this life-affirming
book in the last 22 months of his life, and he provided tremendous hope and
insights on life for the living ones through this memoir.
In the memoir, I am especially touched by the process of Paul
going through the stages of denial, anger, and acceptance after the diagnosis. Being
diagnosed with a terminal disease, Paul did not give up on life and be defeated
by death, he instead chose to embrace his foreseeable death, and decided to
live his limited life to the fullest by living in the moment. This is surely a
hard thing to do for anyone, but Paul’s motivating attitude made me ponder and
rethink my own life and how to make life worthy.
Paul’s expressive writing also makes this book extremely
captivating and vivid. His great love for literature could be felt throughout
the novel. As he wrote in the novel: “Literature not only illuminated another’s
experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection.
My brief forays into the formal ethics of analytic philosophy felt dry as a
bone, missing the messiness and weight of real human life.” He had not
only produced a beautiful masterpiece of literature, but also sent beautiful
and thought-provoking messages about life through the memoir.
This is a powerful book, it talks about death, but it is
more about the meaning of life and what matters in life. This is one of the
most unforgettable book I have read, and its message will stay with me for
long. I will recommend this book to everyone as we will all get lost at some
point of our lives, and this book leads you back on track.