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Breaking and Mending: A doctor’s story of burnout and recovery

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  43 reviews

An intimate, urgent account of doctor burnout and life as a psychiatrist from bestselling author Joanna Cannon

"A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn't eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains, listening to the rest of the/>I/>A

Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published September 26th 2019 by Wellcome Collection
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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 ·  234 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Carmel Hanes
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
"I was told compassion is something to be desired and applauded. But compassion will eat away at your sanity. It will make you pull up in a lay-by on the journey home, because you can no longer see the road for the tears. It will creep through your mind in the darkness, and keep you from your sleep, and you will find that the cloth from which you are cut will begin to suffocate you."

"This disapproval of emotional reaction exists in everyday life too. Certain corners of society maintain a particular/>"This
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't get to read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep or Three Things About Elsie, so I had no idea of anything about Joanna Cannon.

By reading the paperback Breaking and Mending I found out the pressure that Joanna went through being a junior doctor. One thing that will stay with me about Joanna Cannon is how kind and caring she was when a patient died.

If you buy this book do please make sure you have a box of tissues ready.

I'm going to pass my book to my daughter who works in a doctors surge
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I learned that returning a life to someone very often has nothing to do with restoring a heartbeat.”

Joanna Cannon is a consummate storyteller, having had two best selling novels under her belt – and her gift for writing is amply demonstrated in this profoundly moving memoir of her training as a doctor and early medical career.

She was chosen by the Medical School admissions professor as a ‘wild card’ candidate to study medicine – a mature student without the usual privile
Sandra Armor
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished the audiobook of #BreakingandMending read by the author, @JoannaCannon. An intensely moving memoir. I sobbed at several of the patient stories. It’s heartbreaking, but reinforces how much we owe to all those who care for us when we cannot. A must read or listen.
I read the first 30 pages and skimmed another 12. Cannon left school at 15 and came to medicine late, starting her training in her 30s. Her father had died not long before then, and she initially had trouble with dissections because it reminded her of his dead body, the last she’d seen previously. A compassionate registrar got her involved in hospital autopsies so she could become used to being around corpses.

I’ve read so many doctors’ memoirs now, and this one doesn’t really cut the
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished the last sentence of ‘Breaking & Mending’ and sat in silence, once again in complete and utter awe of Joanna Cannon. I have been a huge fan ever since I read an early proof copy of ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’. Joanna Cannon’s skill with words always amazes me. She is an author who has that rare ability of conveying so many things in just one five word sentence. As someone who always waffles and scrambles around for the right words, I am always amazed by those people who sel ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a paramedic, this book massively resonated with me, especially in relation to dealing with suicide, and the feelings of inadequacy. Jo is brilliant at writing about people and their emotions & I felt my eyes filling with tears at several points. I do think I found it more emotional because I can relate to it, but I certainly recommend a read. It’s a book that will stay with me for a very, very long time.
Callum McLaughlin
This anecdotal memoir focusses on Cannon’s time spent as a junior doctor, working on both A&E and psychiatric wards. Its primary aim is to humanise the overworked and underappreciated staff who keep the NHS afloat in times of unrest and austerity, and to explore the ethical grey area between maintaining professional protocol and extending the hand of human kindness. From heart-breakingly tender interactions with patients, to moments of gut-punch trauma, she highlights the physical and emotio ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Profile Books gifted me the copy of Breaking and Mending by Dr Joanna Cannon I was very grateful and excited to read it. Not only because it had an interesting premise but because Dr Joanna Cannon is the author of one of my favourite books that I've read this year "Three Things About Elsie" and I couldn't wait to delve into her memoir of being a junior doctor.

This book is definitely not a fluffy, rose-tinted look at junior doctors. This is a memoir filled with gritty tales and insightful s
Ellie (bookmadbarlow)
A beautifully written and moving memoir about the authors experiences of being a Junior Doctor. I felt for her as she described her experiences and cried more than once, having to put the book down as it all felt so raw.
Joanna Cannon has put her heart and soul into this book and I couldn't help be moved by that. I know its a good book when I have to get the tabs out.
There was nothing political or jarring just a gentle reminder to be kinder to people, and to try to understand what oth
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A slim but profound volume. We see the joys and despair of practising medicine in the NHS today and are given a reminder of how to be human
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have followed Joanna Cannon's writing journey for a long time now. I used to read her blog and was always touched by her ability to portray such emotion, and such compassion through her writing.
I think most people know her story; she wrote her first novel during her breaks when she was working as a psychiatrist in a busy NHS hospital. That book was The Trouble with Goats and Sheep; one of my favourite books of recent years. Her second novel; Three Things About Elsie was another huge succ
Claire O'Sullivan
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
4.5 stars . Very readable, but it made me sad at how hard our Drs work and how poorly they are treat .
Jackie Law
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“medicine is all about people, and people are made out of stories”

Why would anyone wish to become a doctor? It is a question most potential students applying to medical school will be asked. Perhaps they wish to save lives, to make a difference. Perhaps they come from a family of medics and it has always been expected of them.

It costs around a quarter of a million pounds to train a doctor in the UK, a significant proportion of which must now be borne by the student, often in the for
A more thoughtful, kind and considerably less whiny, misogynistic, disingenuous and funny book about the bloody awfulness of being a junior (ie sub consultant) doctor than Adam Kay's big hit. He made a lot of very important points but ultimately, on the basis of his writing, he is not a loss to obstetrics (even discounting the precipitating sequelae to a tragic event). But Joanna Cannon is a loss to psychiatry and this book shows why. Although the book felt a wee bit sewn together it was an abso ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Words are never, ever, just words.” Joanna Cannon writes this in the context of giving a diagnosis but it could equally apply to her writing. There is no spare word in this book, no word which doesn’t carry the reader forward on their journey as they join her on a retrospective reflection on her life as a medical student and junior doctor.

This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read in a long time. Dr Cannon lays herself as bare as the cadaver that accompanied her thr
cenbookfairy_Tylwyth Teg y Llyfr.
Breaking & Mending by Joanne Cannon published by @profile.books
Out on 26th September 2019.

This is a relatively short book only 176 pages long- but it is packed with so much detail.
Joanne gives us an in depth, intimate, raw, real, straight to the point yet shows compassion about her life as a mature medical student and junior doctor.
👩🏻⚕ It is a very thought provoking book and the reality of the lives as a junior doctor in an A&E environment.
👩🏻⚕ I really d
Tracey Gemmell
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Joanna Cannon turns her journey through medical school to becoming a psychiatrist into a must-read book. She explores so well the fear of failure, the caring for others at the expense of oneself, and the toll it takes to be on the frontlines of healthcare. Having worked in the hospital setting myself as a speech-language pathologist, I understand the stresses of too many patients, too little time and a sense that you are never able to live up to the expectations you set for yourself when you sta ...more
Sarah Bates
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started by wondering a bit about this. Some of the presentation on the page is a bit odd. As a patient I thought I might on occasion have a slightly different perspective or even conclusion. The first chapter or so is quite challenging for those who perhaps have depressive friends and I did wonder who I might recommend it too. But thinking and talking about it made me realise that there were a couple of extraordinary attributes to this book. The descriptions and language are stunning. The othe ...more
graham morgan
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing

A lovely deeply moving book to read. It restores my faith in people. Brought an extra copy to give to my brother and his wife who are a psychiatrist and a gp. Thought it might resonate with them. Having a diagnosis of schizophrenia myself it was lovely to see a doctor who do clearly loved her job and the people she worked with. Most struck by the description of sitting in the death of someone, resonated so much with my recent experience of my partner's father. Thank you
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sally Boocock
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and profound telling of Joanna's life as a junior doctor. It is compassionate, powerful and extremely moving. Such a poignant and significant account of life in the NHS and how doctors and nurses are treated. Thank you Joanna for sharing your story . A must read for everyone.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed to read. Full of compassion and stories that make you realise how fragile life can be, and makes you want to grasp on to it that bit tighter.
It was an emotional and also enlightening read and I really enjoyed reading Jo's story into becoming a Dr. I was rooting for her the whole time and I'm so glad she found her place in the medical profession.
Simone Sinna
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get a prepublication copy. In my other life I am both author(not as successful as this one!) and psychiatrist so this book spoke directly to me. Cannon writes openly and poignantly about what it is to be a doctor - and to be human. A must read for every medical student and would be medical student.
Danielle rayner
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The detail of each case was so detailed I felt every emotion the author did and it really pulled at the heart strings.
It’s amazing the Will power and determination that junior doctors have and are willing to do to care for the nhs.
I do agree mental health needs more supports and funding.
Definitely recommend this book.
Miss N O'Shea
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honest, raw and captivating

Joanna’s writing engages and draws in the readers this memoir shows the reality of the NHS in a frank, emotional and human way.’ My best read of 2019, full of compassion and insight.
Liz Owen
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully and sensitively written, this book is a great read and a thought provoking reflection on the way in which doctors are trained and the pressure they are under. A very good and absorbing book. Loved it.
Sue Carmichael
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honest and thought provoking

Joanna cannon writes in such a considered and compassionate way. There is some difficult and challenging content to consider, but the author wants to bring out the best of humanity in us all
Emma Dargue
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book in the vain of Adam Kay's This Is Going to Hurt. Moving and confronting some of the real issues facing doctors and junior doctors in particular whilst also celebrating the small victories that medical staff of the NHS have. I highly recommend reading this book.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve completed this book in 24 hours, I couldn’t put it down. The book is a recollection of Joanna Cannon’s experiences as a junior doctor. It’s beautiful and mesmerising. Kindness and humanity shine from these pages.
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Librarians note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Joanna Cannon is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone and has been published in 15 countries. The novel was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for The Bookseller Industry Awards 2017 and won t