To begin this review, an important quote about the way we train doctors to interact with patients:
"What happens in a society that puts more emphasis oTo begin this review, an important quote about the way we train doctors to interact with patients:
"What happens in a society that puts more emphasis on IQ and class-standing than on simple matters of tact, sensitivity, perceptiveness, and good taste in the management of the suffering? In a professional society where the young medical student is admired for his research and laboratory work during the first years of medical school while he is at a loss of words when a patient asks him a simple question? If we could combine the teaching of the new scientific and technical achievements with equal emphasis on the interpersonal human relationships we could indeed make progress, but not if the new knowledge is conveyed to the student at the price of less and less interpersonal contact.
A wonderful book about what the dying can teach us about how and why to live. Kubler-Ross takes us through her model of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance - and explains the functions and complexities of each stage. She also discusses the history of death and how society's views of it have changed, as well as the ways in which we interact with the dying. A quote I found helpful about understanding anger:
"A patient who is respected and understood, who is given attention and a little time, will soon lower his voice and reduce his angry demands. He will know that he is a valuable human being, cared for, allowed to function at the highest possible level as long as he can. He will be listened to without the need for a temper tantrum, he will be visited without ringing the bell every so often because dropping in on him is not a necessary duty but a pleasure."
My main takeaway from reading On Death and Dying: talk about death. These conversations carry huge challenges and loads of emotional difficulty. But they have the potential to create an openness and understanding that will free both the dying and those closest to them. Kubler-Ross shares many interviews in this book and exposes us to how hard death is. By doing so, she allows us to start the process of accepting the trials and tribulations that come with passing on, so we can live the best we can.
Recommended to anyone interested in death and dying, either because of a personal experience or for a miscellaneous reason. I will end this review with a final quote that resonated with me:
"Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever. To be a therapist to a dying patient makes us aware of the uniqueness of each individual in this vast sea of humanity. It makes us aware of our finiteness, our limited lifespan. Few of us live beyond our three score and ten years and yet in that brief time most of us create and live a unique biography and weave ourselves into the fabric of human history."...more
In her self-published memoir What Doesn't Kill Us, Brandy Worrall details her battle with a rare form of breast cancer at the age of 31. She discussesIn her self-published memoir What Doesn't Kill Us, Brandy Worrall details her battle with a rare form of breast cancer at the age of 31. She discusses her struggle with the disease in relation to her American father's and Vietnamese mother's experience during the Vietnam War. Worrall weaves in themes of resilience, heartbreak, identity, and more to make this memoir even more memorable than one might expect.
Worrall's honesty made this book stand out. She curses, she complains, and she admits to buying bras to make herself feel better. Her prose delivers an authenticity sometimes absent in MFA-wielding authors, and she shares her struggle with cancer in a bold, vulnerable way. Worrall incorporates her old blog posts too, revealing how she has developed since her tragic diagnosis.
I would also recommend What Doesn't Kill Us to those interested in the politics of marriage and the nuances within Asian-American families. Worrall's deteriorating marriage with her ex-husband Charles, as well as her fights with her mother and father, take up just as much as space as her cancer does in her story, and all of those issues intertwine to make an effective and compelling memoir.
Overall, a great read for my Transnational Asian-American literature course. While I felt that the ending with Anton had an almost too idyllic, Cinderella-like vibe, I still enjoyed this unique story from a resilient and brave writer. ...more
I feel kind of awful reviewing A Court of Thorns and Roses for two reasons: 1) the wonderful bloggers at The Midnight Garden sent me an ARC several moI feel kind of awful reviewing A Court of Thorns and Roses for two reasons: 1) the wonderful bloggers at The Midnight Garden sent me an ARC several months before the book came out, and I waited to read it until now, despite the hoopla surrounding its release, and 2) I cannot think of a nice way to say this book bored the heck out of me. Yes, it may have killing, sex, and twisted faeries, but none of those things resonated with me or even really entertained me.
Perhaps my ennui surrounding Sarah Maas's story centers on Feyre, our protagonist. A Court of Thorns and Roses revolves around how Feyre slays a wolf in the woods, how she then sacrifices herself to save her family, and how she proceeds to fall in love and want to fight for Tamlin, her captor/romantic interest. All of these things sound exciting, but as I read the book I felt the narration dragging me from event to event instead of making me anticipate each twist, despite the high stakes involved. My main qualm centers on Feyre's character: while she has the mentality of a fierce, independent huntress, little stood out about her in terms of her actions or emotions, to the point where she resembled an odd mixture of Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen. Also, Feyre's relationship with Tamlin made me cringe. Their insta-love overwhelmed me in a not-so-good-way, and even at the book's end I struggled to determine why they like each other so much, aside from nondescript kindness and attractive aesthetics.
Still, I give A Court of Thorns and Roses three stars because I saw glimpses of deeper character dynamics (like within Feyre's family) and because Maas's prose did shine in a few spots. While I do not think I will continue this series, I will soon read Throne of Glass, just because of its hype and because I have already bought a copy. Overall, I give this book a hesitant recommendation to those interested in faeries, as well as young-adult fantasy and romance....more
After the war in South Korea ends, Soo-Ja Choi makes the worst mistake of her life: marrying a timid, foolish suitor instead of the caring, earnest meAfter the war in South Korea ends, Soo-Ja Choi makes the worst mistake of her life: marrying a timid, foolish suitor instead of the caring, earnest medical student she really loves. Though Soo-Ja has a rebellious heart, a dedicated passion for adventure, and a burning desire to pursue diplomacy, all of that subsides when her cruel new family and lukewarm marriage force her into submission. Now Soo-Ja must create a better life for herself and her daughter, lest she make the same mistakes from her past.
I enjoyed the themes of longing and regret imbedded within This Burns My Heart. Samuel Park writes with an aching precision about the pain that accompanies wrong decisions, the bittersweet sorrow that pervades our lives, even in our joyful moments. He also crafts a headstrong and winsome protagonist with Soo-Ja, who keeps the story compelling and meaningful. Park's prose shines when he discusses the intricate details of certain side characters, as well as the broader implications people's behaviors have for the rest of human nature, as evidenced by this quote:
"Father-in-law felt no guilt for sacrificing his son, nor - her second hope - any gratitude toward him. She wondered if he wrestled with those demons in his own, in the dark, until she figured that was wishful thinking on her part. Regret and pangs of conscience are feelings we assign to others to make the world seem a little more fair, to even things out a little and provide consolation. In reality, those who do wrong to us never think about us as much as we think about them, and that is the ultimate irony: their deeds live inside us, festering, while they live out in the world, plucking peaches off trees, biting juicily into them, their minds on things lovely and sweet."
However, nothing really stood out to me after reading This Burns My Heart. The plot felt predictable and trite at times, and the events of Soo-Ja's life almost progressed in an unfortunate pattern. Her relationships with Yul and Min had some awkward phases of development, and certain events in the story occurred at all-too-convenient times. I would have appreciated just a bit more power from Park's prose to elevate the novel as a whole, that extra spark that would have transformed a simmer into a flame.
Overall, an alright book I would recommend to those intrigued by its synopsis, or those who want to try a book that pertains to Asian culture. Not my favorite story about featuring an Asian protagonist, though I am curious about what Park writes next....more