I had the privilege of reading a people magazine story late last year that caught my interest. It was the story of a neurosurgeon and his experience with family and being diagnosed with cancer. I found out that he had passed in March 2015 and that he had written a memoir shortly before his passing. After reading his story and seeing a pictures of those he left behind (his wife and daughter), I was intrigued. I knew that it took courage to be able to dive in and reflect on yourself during that time. The book covers the life of Dr. Paul Kalanithi before his diagnosis and after. The epilogue was written by his wife Lucy.
The writing style was seamless and addictive to read. You wanted to know more and more about the life of a student studying to become a neurosurgeon/neuroscientist and you wanted to know the thoughts racing through his read when he was diagnosed and how he persevered despite that. You really follow him on the journey through neurosurgery, finding out a lot of details you would’ve never known prior to reading this book. You get to experience his strength and resolve to keep going, realizing and helping the reader to realize that death is inevitable and that it comes to everyone. But what really matters is how you go on living and what you do with the time you have left.
I would really recommend this book to anyone that wants to know more about neurosurgery, what doctors go through every day, what its like to be diagnosed with a terminal illness and the decisions you can make if you are. I really cannot say enough about this book and I don’t want to spill all of its secrets. It’s a very well written and inspiring book. Well worth the read! Also, for more information about Dr. Paul Kalanithi, you can visit his website at http://paulkalanithi.com/.
I want to paint a picture for you…of a young girl age 8 in her Christmas pajamas. She’s watching a Christmas movie that she and her family watches every year. The girl not only enjoys it because it’s funny, but also because the dad in that film reminded her of her own dad. The film was about a notorious family just trying to celebrate the holidays with the usually traditions. Yes, I’m talking about Christmas Vacation. And yes, that young girl was me. I grew up watching Chevy Chase movies with my parents and loved them very dearly. I thought Chevy Chase was hilarious and I could’ve sworn he was a long-lost brother of my father. Seriously, they look very much alike.
Anyways, I grew up with Chevy Chase and was crushed when he started not appearing in the movies or on television, as much as he used to. I thought maybe he retired or was taking a break. Which really was the case. I got excited when he resurfaced again on a TV show called community. But I wanted more. I just couldn’t understand how one of America’s most beloved comedians/actors just suddenly became second fiddle to a bunch of young actors. I didn’t realize that there was an answer to these questions until I found his biography at the library. I saw it and just had to read it immediately.
The biography is less than 300 pages, so I was able to read it quickly. The book was a natural timeline, starting from Chevy’s birth to his decision to pull away from Hollywood. I learned things that I never before knew about Chevy Chase. I learned that he was physically abused constantly by his mother. I learned that a misunderstanding with a studio head and his wife, led to Chevy being professionally sabotaged. There had been a recent rumor that he had used the N word to describe a fellow actor on the show Community, but as the book explains, the press takes everything out of context. Chevy was upset at how some characters were being portrayed and that argument caused someone to say that he was being racist. Which in reality Chevy was not. He had hung out with people from different backgrounds frequently as an adult, with blues musicians he idled. But somehow, he was labeled a racist. I got to see a different side of the comedian/actor that reaffirmed what I had always thought of him. That he is a good person and deserves good things too. I really hope he regains popularity again soon, on both TV and movie screens.
For his book, I would rate it 9/10.