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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted
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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,508 ratings  ·  297 reviews
A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission and, ultimately, a road trip of healing and self-discovery.

In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter “the real world”. She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue he
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 9th 2021 by Random House
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Average rating 4.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,508 ratings  ·  297 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Audiobook... read beautifully by the author, Suleika Jaquad

An amazing story of triumph....
....a book that makes a difference by a woman whose contribution to others is huge...
....a GIGANTIC gift to me!!!
....articulately written with emotional truth!!!

....I never expected to be affected as hard as I was.

My close friend’s son died of myeloid leukemia... a year after he had married - at age 32.
I know dozens and dozens of people who ha
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, netgalley
3.5 stars, rounded up
I had to pysch myself up to read this. Right now, depressing stories are hard to take on top of real life. Suleika is 22 years old when she’s diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. All of a sudden, her tiredness and mouth sores aren’t just a case of anemia. It was scary to realize how many decisions had to be made in such a short time amount of time, like fertility issues, experimental trials.
It’s a dark, at times tortuous story and I will admit to having to skim certain s
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. " - Bob Marley

Right after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was ready to take on the world. She had moved to Paris and to purse her dream of becoming a war correspondence. Life would set her up for a different kind of battle. She began to itch. Not the little itch that we all experience from time to time but a drawn out annoying one that had her waking each day to find scratch marks on her body. It
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for giving me a digital copy of this book


Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Some of the scenes depicted of Suleika's sufferings were quite graphic*

Some say the world is your oyster and for Suleika Jaourd that seemed to be her future. Recent college grad, moving to Paris and a new boyfriend make for a life that seems to be unfolding before her. Then Suleika is bothered by itchiness that drove her crazy. Next came exhaustion that even six hour naps couldn't quell. A trip to the doctor confirmed this was something awful, leukemia with the chances of survival placed at 35%
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, medical, memoir
Absolutely beautiful. Check out my review on Booktube! ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Four Stars

Suleika Jaouad had just graduated college when she was diagnosed with leukemia. As the book begins she is ready to take on the world, bravely embarking on a new job in Paris. To her utter surprise, new boyfriend Will decides to come join her. Everything is going well except nagging in the background, this tantalizing itch that would start up her feet and move up her body. Then there was the weakness that prompted Suleika to take hours long naps. She was almost 23 when she finally recei
02/09/2021: HAPPY PUB DAY! So excited to have this out in the world.
I decided to reimagine my survival as a creative act.

A book such as this one deserves no less than 5 stars.

Grit, jubilance, pain, terror, ingenuity, heartbreak, and resilience—all are conveyed through Suleika Jaouad’s vibrant, compelling prose. This memoir delves into some of the heaviest topics a person will ever grapple with in their life, and then some.

When Suleika Jaouad was twenty-two, she began experiencing inexplicab
Sharon Metcalf
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Between Two Kingdoms is the fabulously well written memoir of Suleika Jaouad.  Some readers may recognise her name from her Life, Interrupted column which was syndicated in numerous newspapers and magazines across America. This was a captivating book, both devastating and uplifting in equal measures.    Devastating because it tells of her cancer diagnosis at just 22 years of age, of the toll this disease took not just on her life but on the lives of her family, friends and the ways it negatively ...more
Jessica | JustReadingJess
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad is a memoir about a woman’s cancer journey from diagnosis through life cancer free. Jaouad does a great job taking the reader through her cancer journey. Between Two Kingdom is the perfect mix of informative and emotional. Jaouad discusses everything she went through as well how cancer and her actions affected her loved ones. She was very open and honest. Jaouad wasn’t afraid to say things she messed up and how she should’ve done something differently. Sule ...more
Kylie H
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book comes from a book by Susan Sontag that describes everyone as having dual citizenship in both the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick. This book details a young woman's time in both kingdoms, each as equally hard to leave and enter as the other.
Suleika Jaouad is diagnosed with a rare from of leukaemia in her early twenties. Her world soon revolves around appointments, treatments and hospital wards.. Her social life is with her treating team and co-patients as we
Karen R
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It began with an itch.

Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of twenty-two, Suleka’s story touches all the emotion buttons. Along with laser-sharp writing, thoughtful and insightful words, she journals her incredible journey living a precarious life with cancer and the impact on people within her orbit. Her courage, resilience and drive is inspirational.

During a long stint in the hospital and no ability to maintain a ‘regular’ job, Suleka starts writing a blog, picked up by The New Yo
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars - Thanks to Random House for offering me an Arc of this book and NetGalley for the download.

For a debut book, this one is really good. Jaouad is very open and candid in her heartfelt story. Suleika Jaouad has her knees taken out from under her in the prime of her youth. She is diagnosed with leukemia.

This story is a total walk through from before her diagnosis to her remission and everything that came in between. The long hospital stays, the additional bouts with other surgeries, and t
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suleika Jaouad’s writing is incredible. Her story is heart breaking and she is such a strong person. I would love to read more of her work in the future. I lack the proper words to describe how much I recommend this memoir. It made me tear up a few times and I loved reading about the different people she met in her journey. I thought the beginning and end was very engrossing but the middle part did drag a bit for me. I really loved the last 30% because Jaouad went on a lone road trip across Amer ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is sort of divided into three parts. When the book opens, Suleika Jaouad has just graduated from college. She moved to Paris and fell in love. Then, she found out she had leukemia. She moved back home with her parents in New York to begin treatment. Her boyfriend, who she really has only begun dating, leaves Paris and also moves in with her parents to support her.

This part of the book was incredibly difficult to read at times, because she went through so much. During her treatment, she
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Suleika Jaouad was only twenty-two years old when she diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia.

Between Two Kingdoms is her journey through life, that involved diagnosis, gruesome treatments, the impact of such cruel disease on mental wellbeing, finances, relationships. It is a life interrupted, alright. You'd have to be a sociopath not to sympathise. What option does one have but to fight? The complexities of redefining one's "new normal" following remission are eloquently writ
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
Let me start this off by saying that I am not a dramatic person. With that being said, this book kinda changed my life.

Just for some background: I’m 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome at the age of 7 (which is the rare pre-leukemic disease that Jaouad got before it turned into full-blown leukemia). I also almost lost my life in a battle with GVHD (Graft vs. Host Disease, which Jaouad also dealt with). I’ve luckily been living a happy and healthy life since then.

And for
Kimba Tichenor
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of this memoir is taken from a line from Susan Sontag's book Illness as Metaphor: "Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place," At the age of 22, most of us do not expect to spend any substantial time in the kingdom of the sick. But for 22-year-old Suleika Jao ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
***Goodreads Giveaway Win***

I inhaled this book. Suleika Jaouad knows how to pull a reader into her world; I don't know how she does it. Maybe it's the clear way she writes; maybe it's that she does not hold back on the ugliness; maybe it's because she doesn't proselytize. All I know is I'd find my mind wandering throughout the day away from the task at hand and entering her story instead. This is the sign of a 5 star book.

Highly recommend to every reader.
Michelle Curie
"On some level, I was starting to realise that the life I'd had before was shattered – the person I'd been, buried. I would never be the same."

I have never heard of Suleika Jaouad before reading this, so I was unaware of her exposure through the blog she kept up for her New York Times column Life, Interrupted. Aged 22, she was diagnosed with leukaemia and from her hospital room, she has become an advocate for those living with illness.

This is her memoir, which is as much about what it's like
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated the honesty of this memoir. It didn't exactly wow me, but it was a very intimate look into the life of a young woman with cancer. ...more
3.5 stars

When Suleika Jaouad is diagnosed at age 22 with leukemia, she is in what feels like the happiest place in her life. Living in Paris with a man who loves her unconditionally, both of them were on the cusp of new careers and adventures. The diagnosis sends her back to her parents' home and the specialists in New York, followed closely by her soon-to-be fiancé, for what will turn into four years of chemo, a bone marrow transplant, and hospital stays. This will be, obviously, the hardest pa
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
𝑭𝒐𝒓 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒋𝒐𝒚, 𝒂 𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒎 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒈𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒆𝒅, 𝒂 𝒓𝒐𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒕, 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒔𝒂𝒗𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒖𝒏𝒇𝒐𝒍𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒎𝒚 𝒔𝒌𝒊𝒏.

Suleika Jaouad had just graduated from college, was living in New York City having scored a summer internship, and dreamed of a career as a foreign correspondent. The internship isn’t supporting her, and her exhaustion has returned, telling her a change in scenery could be the cure. A position for a paralegal at an A
Kerry Pickens
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
I received this book unsolicited and I wanted to thank the publisher for sending it. It was one of the best books I have read this year. I would compare it to "When Breath Becomes Air" as to the emotional impact of the story. A young person losing their health is a tragedy beyond words, and the author eloquently describes the emotional experience of losing your identity when you lose your health, and recovery is leaving that person behind and struggling to find your new path in life. ...more
Jennie Rosenblum
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wish the last 30% of this book had been the entire story. Majority of the book is taken up with the awful (or all) parts of cancer. Being a caregiver of a cancer patient and reading many other books already covering this aspect, I found the author's point of view less than a good read. Her journey after the ravages and her transformation to a new life were well done. ...more
Laura Peden
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Imagine this: you’re a beautiful, intelligent & accomplished 22 year old woman, living abroad in Paris with your new love & you’re a recent Princeton graduate...and then you get news that shatters your have a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia 💔

Suleika Jaouad is the daughter of a Tunisian-born French literature professor and a Swiss-born painter. She was considering a career as a war correspondent when she has to head back home to New York to begin treatment. Suleika takes you on he
Natalie White
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Suleika Jaouad takes her readers along as she intimately recounts her journey through "the in-between place." In its beginning chapters, Jaouad shares her sense of uncertainty as she bounds from one less-than-thrilling job to the next. Jaouad reminds us of the adage, "If you want to make G-d laugh, tell him your plans." After only recently settling in Paris to embark on the beginning of the rest of her life, Jaouad finds herself being whisked back to the US seemingly overnight. From there, we sh ...more
Maureen Grigsby
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A heart rending memoir of a life leukemia. Suleika eventually has a bone marrow transplant and then takes a road trip across the US to visit friends and strangers who helped her during her three year hospital ordeal. Her writing is exquisite as she describes her fears, her loneliness, her anger, at a world that goes on without her participation. She is doing well today, and her memoir of her journeys is fascinating and full of love.
Diane Yannick
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful memoir about living in two kingdoms—sickness and wellness. The author’s horrendous battle with leukemia is described in graphic detail. Suleika was a 22 year old Princeton grad living in Paris when she got her diagnosis. At 22, there’s so much you still have to figure out about yourself. Trying to balance family and friends and not become defined by your disease all took an immense toll. Will, her boyfriend, was an amazing companion and caregiver but Suleika was not able to a ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me in so many (good) ways! I love reading memoirs, so I wasn’t surprised that this one gripped me from the first pages, but as I read on it opened so many doors in my heart and my mind, and made me think so much about my own life, and choices, and events that I had no choice over.

Suleika Jaouad is only in her early 20’s when she is diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia. She is lucky enough to have a family and boyfriend who are ready to drop everything to ensure t
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Suleika Jaouad wrote the Emmy Award-winning New York Times column “Life, Interrupted.” Her essays and reported features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue and NPR. She is the creator of the Isolation Journals, a global project cultivating creativity and community during challenging times. BETWEEN TWO KINGDOMS is her first book.

Articles featuring this book

Memoirs and autobiographies consistently deliver some of the most compelling reading on the virtual shelves. There’s something about the...
20 likes · 4 comments
“It is the certainty of never that hurts most. The knowledge that I will never eat star-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with her in the pediatric ward again. Never dance around her living room, headbanging our wigs to the beat. Never watch her paint a new masterpiece. I understand why people believe in the afterlife, why they soothe themselves with the faith that those who are no longer with us still exist elsewhere, eternally, in a celestial realm free of pain. As for me, all I know is that here on this earth, I cannot find my friend.” 1 likes
“The tangling of so much cruelty and beauty has made of my life a strange, discordant landscape. It has left me with an awareness that haunts the edges of my vision—it can all be lost in a moment—but it’s also given me a jeweler’s eye. If I’m thinking about my illness—abstracted from its impact on the people around me—then the answer is: No, I would not reverse my diagnosis if I could. I would not take back what I suffered to gain this.” 1 likes
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