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An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself. Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself. Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn't move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman. In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process. The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper's journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it's simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn't the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.


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An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself. Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself. Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn't move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman. In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process. The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper's journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it's simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn't the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.

30 review for The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    This was really interesting. I don't read memoirs often and I've never read a memoir from a doctor or medical professional before so this audiobook was a very interesting experience. This author has a lot of interesting stories from the emergency room and she also has a lot to say about what it's like to work as a Black woman in a field that is mostly dominated by white men. She also has a lot to say about how Black people are treated so unfairly sometimes when it comes to receiving the medical This was really interesting. I don't read memoirs often and I've never read a memoir from a doctor or medical professional before so this audiobook was a very interesting experience. This author has a lot of interesting stories from the emergency room and she also has a lot to say about what it's like to work as a Black woman in a field that is mostly dominated by white men. She also has a lot to say about how Black people are treated so unfairly sometimes when it comes to receiving the medical attention they need, as well as the strange relationships between cops and doctors as to what they are legally allowed to do with people who are arrested but need to see a doctor. Overall, it was a really interesting educational experience for me to listen to this audiobook.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shannon A

    I simply couldn't put this memoir down. It's a debut unlike any other; If you think this a medical career memoir you'd be wrong and pleasantly surprised. Michele brings to light what is often forgotten in the medical shows: First you become a doctor and then you discover how to become a healer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley

    I can see the value of a memoir like this—particularly if you’re currently in healthcare or are deeply interested in the way politics plagues medical decisions. That said, a lot of the case studies offered (of which there are ten) end with a lesson-learned; the author practiced Buddhism, as a religious philosophy, and it’s clear her acceptance of that is what allowed her to not only understand and reconcile her own pain, but deal with the injustices she’s faced as a medical professional. Each an I can see the value of a memoir like this—particularly if you’re currently in healthcare or are deeply interested in the way politics plagues medical decisions. That said, a lot of the case studies offered (of which there are ten) end with a lesson-learned; the author practiced Buddhism, as a religious philosophy, and it’s clear her acceptance of that is what allowed her to not only understand and reconcile her own pain, but deal with the injustices she’s faced as a medical professional. Each anecdote offered speaks to a particular issue—poverty, profiling, sexism in the professional realm, racism, deficiencies in the way we view/treat mental health, how poorly we tend to our veteran’s, etc.—and Harper makes sure to spell out the cases in a detailed manner; this allows the reader to understand for themself just how lacking things are within the medical profession, and how much of that is due to what we’ve chosen to value at the legislative level. At some points, the book was a bit too preachy, and that was a turnoff for me. That said, if you’re unaware of how easy it is for the most vulnerable among us to fall through the cracks, as a result of lopsided policy or systemic racism, this book will open your eyes to just how much is wrong with patient care in this country. Thanks to Edelweiss+ for the advanced e-Copy of this author’s work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tinichix (nicole)

    2020 has really been a great memoir year for me so far. Michele Harper is an emergency room physician who has put together this beautiful piece of work on how her life as a physician, who heals and services others, has ending up teaching her how to heal herself. I genuinely feel as if she has poured her heart and soul into this book in the same way she pours her heart and soul into her occupation. I feel as if the healing she has provided to her patients both physically and emotionally has helpe 2020 has really been a great memoir year for me so far. Michele Harper is an emergency room physician who has put together this beautiful piece of work on how her life as a physician, who heals and services others, has ending up teaching her how to heal herself. I genuinely feel as if she has poured her heart and soul into this book in the same way she pours her heart and soul into her occupation. I feel as if the healing she has provided to her patients both physically and emotionally has helped her heal her own heart, mind, and soul and grow as an individual. The book follows not only her occupation but her own inner healings. She has healed the wounds of multiple past relationships and describes to us the psychological circles and cyclic patterns we make within our own lives. I enjoyed these parts as much as the medical accounts and reflections on her own patient care. I don't think a lot of people take into account the inner most workings of a health care facility. All the gears and wheels that are turning that one never sees. All the pieces to the puzzle that either make or break an experience for someone on a personal level, or for a loved one, she gives us a window into some of the flaws and places where our systems are broken and flawed. Once again we have an author being vulnerable and allowing us into their inner most thoughts. This was so worth reading for me, I am taking so much away from it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Harper grew up in an affluent, abusive family that left her emotionally scarred for many years. This memoir recounts her personal growth as she practiced medicine in the Emergency Rooms of the hospitals where she worked. In the beginning of her career she strived to assume administration responsibilities too, but realized that what gave her the most fulfillment was treating patients. Interestingly, the personal benefits she received through meditation and yoga helped her to treat her patients in Harper grew up in an affluent, abusive family that left her emotionally scarred for many years. This memoir recounts her personal growth as she practiced medicine in the Emergency Rooms of the hospitals where she worked. In the beginning of her career she strived to assume administration responsibilities too, but realized that what gave her the most fulfillment was treating patients. Interestingly, the personal benefits she received through meditation and yoga helped her to treat her patients in a more healthy, holistic way. Sadly, the fact that she was a Harvard-educated physician did not keep her from experiencing misogyny and racism on occasion—sometimes from co-workers, sometimes from patients. Recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Ooohhh, so many positive reviews about this book. I was hoping to be one them. A memoir about a physician where she shares stories from the trenches as an ER physician. That is right up my alley. That is not what I got! I understand that the premise of the book was supposed to be how she overcame an abuse childhood to go to medical school and then overcame racism to rise through the ranks in the hospital. Her family history was glossed over and she never discussed how she actually got away from t Ooohhh, so many positive reviews about this book. I was hoping to be one them. A memoir about a physician where she shares stories from the trenches as an ER physician. That is right up my alley. That is not what I got! I understand that the premise of the book was supposed to be how she overcame an abuse childhood to go to medical school and then overcame racism to rise through the ranks in the hospital. Her family history was glossed over and she never discussed how she actually got away from the abuse. Her memories of her time as a physician are essentially a bitch fest of everuthing that is wrong with the Healthcare system and the human race in general. Essentially, she was always the smartest person in the room and was going to make sure that everyone knew it. When she was passed over for a promotion or disrespected by an intern, it automatically had to do with the color of her skin. As someone who is also in healthcare, if she had half the attitude in person that she had in the book, that most likely had more to do with it. I understand that not every memoir will be sweetness and light but accurate and fair would be nice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Cavanaugh

    I hate rating people’s memoirs, this is their real life, private things they put out for the world to know. The premise had me really excited, I love some good ER stories, and this delivered some good stories, you really can’t make up what happens in the ER on a daily basis. However, this didn’t grab my attention at all. The book read like a short story collection, making it feel fragmented, with not much happening to connect all the stories. I did enjoy this overall, but it took me a week to re I hate rating people’s memoirs, this is their real life, private things they put out for the world to know. The premise had me really excited, I love some good ER stories, and this delivered some good stories, you really can’t make up what happens in the ER on a daily basis. However, this didn’t grab my attention at all. The book read like a short story collection, making it feel fragmented, with not much happening to connect all the stories. I did enjoy this overall, but it took me a week to read, during a time when I’m unemployed and have nothing else to do, and other, longer books take 2-3 days. That’s probably an awful way to measure a star rating, but I can’t justify anything higher.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Harris

    Although easy to read, with compelling vignettes of the author’s life as an ER doctor, I struggled with the lecturing nature that encompasses many chapters.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    There’s been a lot of buzz about this book on social media so I was surprised to see it available at my library. At first I could barely put it down. The first half was a 5-star read. But then i started to lose interest. It got new-agey. The dialog became clunky and seemed designed to fit the author’s narrative. It became more about her life philosophy and less about the patients. I found myself skimming long paragraphs. In the end, sadly, I’m down to 3 stars from 5.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie Rhinehart

    This book was not what I expected. From the description I anticipated a tough upbringing and to see how she became who she wanted to be after rising from and learning so much from these trials. Instead I found whining about how everything and everyone was against her because of her skin color on top of narcissism about how she is the smartest person in the room (and the world) a fact she blatantly throws in your face. The case studies were disjointed, but her feelings of empathy or disdain for t This book was not what I expected. From the description I anticipated a tough upbringing and to see how she became who she wanted to be after rising from and learning so much from these trials. Instead I found whining about how everything and everyone was against her because of her skin color on top of narcissism about how she is the smartest person in the room (and the world) a fact she blatantly throws in your face. The case studies were disjointed, but her feelings of empathy or disdain for the patients comes through loud and clear. I’m not sure how writing about the patients she treated isn’t a violation of HIPAA?! I stuck out the book because it was a bookclub pick and kept hoping it would get better. In my opinion, it did not. As a health care professional I was unimpressed with her portrayal of how important she is and that she should be revered because of her chosen profession.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Dr. Harper falls prey to my pet peeve in memoirs: she paints herself as a saint. This woman is apparently perfect. She went to Harvard, she cares about her patients more than any other doctor does, she bestows forgiveness upon those who hurt her the most. And there’s more: she eats healthy, she does yoga and meditates, she drinks fair-trade coffee, she recycles her old medical magazines, and she listens to NPR. All that goodness seems to give her license to ruin her interesting stories about pat Dr. Harper falls prey to my pet peeve in memoirs: she paints herself as a saint. This woman is apparently perfect. She went to Harvard, she cares about her patients more than any other doctor does, she bestows forgiveness upon those who hurt her the most. And there’s more: she eats healthy, she does yoga and meditates, she drinks fair-trade coffee, she recycles her old medical magazines, and she listens to NPR. All that goodness seems to give her license to ruin her interesting stories about patients and their ailments by climbing behind a pulpit and sermonizing ad nauseum.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Frey

    This book was absolutely breathtaking. It is easily the best book I have read all year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Amarant

    This is one of the few books recently that I’ve been compelled to read in one sitting (and one of very, very few that I feel compelled to review instead of just rating). Harper has a stunning way of using story to expose brokenness - be it systemic racism, sexism in the workplace, or illness and pain in our fellow humans. But, true to her calling, she invites healing into those spaces and beckons readers forward into change and growth. “The Beauty in Breaking” will stick with me for a long time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tex

    Michele believes in life having purpose; and through her career as a doctor, she is able to find life lessons in many of her patients' outcomes and outlooks on life. This book is a glimpse into the way Michele has used consistent reflection about her work and personal life choices to help positively guide and drive her through life's road map, and inspires others to do so as well. Even when dealt a bad hand, Michele tries to demonstrate how to learn from those experiences, and not have them defi Michele believes in life having purpose; and through her career as a doctor, she is able to find life lessons in many of her patients' outcomes and outlooks on life. This book is a glimpse into the way Michele has used consistent reflection about her work and personal life choices to help positively guide and drive her through life's road map, and inspires others to do so as well. Even when dealt a bad hand, Michele tries to demonstrate how to learn from those experiences, and not have them define you as a person. And, yes, sometimes you do in fact learn more deeply about yourself when you're broken than when everything goes off without a hitch. I applaud her message, wanting others to be inspired to find ways to better themselves and use life lessons positively. However, I found it to be, at times, devoid of emotion. The book was a bit sterile, which I felt was a little odd, since, when people find themselves "broken," it is often accompanied with strong feelings or emotions. I felt like we as readers weren't really able to truly gauge which points were truly high, some mediocre, and some absolutely devastating. I would have liked to have seen a bit more differentiation when Michele outlined the different events in her life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ann Mingi

    During the time where we learn to appreciate healthcare workers more, I figured I have to read this memoir by an emergency room physician, aside from it being the July Book of the Month. Michelle Harper is a great writer and doctor, no need to mention that. I was eager to know glimpses of her everyday life in the ER. And after what she has been through, the trauma of witnessing your father abusing your family without remorse is just devastating, and to go through divorce and accept the fact that During the time where we learn to appreciate healthcare workers more, I figured I have to read this memoir by an emergency room physician, aside from it being the July Book of the Month. Michelle Harper is a great writer and doctor, no need to mention that. I was eager to know glimpses of her everyday life in the ER. And after what she has been through, the trauma of witnessing your father abusing your family without remorse is just devastating, and to go through divorce and accept the fact that it didn't work out with your best friend just shows that she rose stronger because in her heart, what she really wants to do is to heal others. One of the most remarkable accounts in her experience in the ER was when a black man, Dominic was being forced by the police to get medical procedures because he was suspected of being involved in drugs. Dr. Harper, after questioning Dominic if these were true, stood up to the cops and declined to test him for it is against the law to undertake a competent adult to medical procedures if he is not willing to do it. We all know that had it not for Dr. Harper, Dominic would have been evaluated without his affirmation and against his will, and we all know this is because of his skin color. I also admired Joshua's courage when he was diagnosed with cancer. Two decades ago, he was already initially diagnosed with the disease and been told that he will have a shorter life, but what he did was change his lifestyle and became more positive. Now, as he face yet another diagnosis, he accepted it with so much hope and peace. He repeatedly said he is fine and he feels good about his body, he has this absolute faith in the universe. The comfort and calmness he has for he lived a beautiful life is just what everybody wants. Amid this pandemic, the courage and strength that our doctors and other healthcare workers have been showing is just boundless, and we should hope it never runs out. We are never going to see people more compassionate and dedicated than our health professionals, we are forever indebted to them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    “Brokenness can be a remarkable gift. If we allow it, it can expand our space to transform - this potential space that is slight, humble, and unassuming. It may seem counterintuitive to claim the benefits of having been broken, but it is precisely when cracks appear in the bedrock of what we thought we knew that the gravity of what has fallen away becomes evident. When that bedrock is blown up by illness, a death, a breakup, a breakdown of any kind, we get the chance to look beyond the rubble to “Brokenness can be a remarkable gift. If we allow it, it can expand our space to transform - this potential space that is slight, humble, and unassuming. It may seem counterintuitive to claim the benefits of having been broken, but it is precisely when cracks appear in the bedrock of what we thought we knew that the gravity of what has fallen away becomes evident. When that bedrock is blown up by illness, a death, a breakup, a breakdown of any kind, we get the chance to look beyond the rubble to see a whole new way of life. The landscape that had been previously obscured by the towers of what we thought we knew for sure is suddenly revealed, showing us the limitations of the way things used to be.” The Beauty in Breaking is Michele Harper's story of the growth she found in stepping away from the broken places in her life and starting again. Harper has experienced much brokenness, from an abusive father, to working as a strong black woman in a profession as an emergency room physician dominated by white men, to the loss of her marriage. The stories she tells from her work in the emergency room are captivating, and they, too, support her ideas of the importance of stepping forward, away from the ruins, into great beauty. “This devastation is a crossroads with a choice; to remain in the ashes or to forge ahead unburdened. Here is the chance to mold into a new nakedness, strengthened by the legacy of resilience to climb over the debris toward a different life.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I was on the fence about this book simply because medical drama doesn’t necessarily interest me, but I also read that the author herself had a rough upbringing and was on the mend in this memoir. I wanted more of the latter, but this book was much more about the former. While the author did weave aspects of her life into this memoir it was more about different cases she experienced. Then she would wrap it up nicely with a little lesson at the end of each chapter. Often times the medical cases wo I was on the fence about this book simply because medical drama doesn’t necessarily interest me, but I also read that the author herself had a rough upbringing and was on the mend in this memoir. I wanted more of the latter, but this book was much more about the former. While the author did weave aspects of her life into this memoir it was more about different cases she experienced. Then she would wrap it up nicely with a little lesson at the end of each chapter. Often times the medical cases would show the problems of America. This book was fine, but not what I wanted to read. It also felt a little pretentious and too political for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Hopkins

    I came in with REALLY high expectations here. Medical memoir? Black woman kicking ass at her profession? An inside look at how hospitals in the U.S. are racist in the treatment of BIPOC patients and providers? It was pure gold for me without even opening the cover, but unfortunately, it falls a bit flat. Where the author stands out is in her discussions of race and privilege, which she seamlessly weaves in and out of many of her stories, both ER and personal, but the storytelling itself just isn I came in with REALLY high expectations here. Medical memoir? Black woman kicking ass at her profession? An inside look at how hospitals in the U.S. are racist in the treatment of BIPOC patients and providers? It was pure gold for me without even opening the cover, but unfortunately, it falls a bit flat. Where the author stands out is in her discussions of race and privilege, which she seamlessly weaves in and out of many of her stories, both ER and personal, but the storytelling itself just isn't there at all, to the point where everything that happens sounds fake AF (and the dialogue is heinously written). My biggest issue is that she uses each of her ER stories to "learn a lesson" in her personal life and it's so vomitously preachy I was like please stop it right now. The premise here is that the author had a rough childhood and later got divorced, so she has a lot of things to be sad about, and when she moves away to Philadelphia for a job, she decides to take this time to find herself and discover the "beauty in breaking" which I feel like is what every girl in my 8th grade English class called every poem they ever wrote, and isn't it also the title of an emo song? Anyway, she shares with us a number of ER stories that she ties to problems in her personal life, making the literal death of humans somehow about her divorce lmao, which isn't cute. Examples... A man finds out his prostate cancer has metastasized throughout his body but he's like "I lived a great life and ate healthy and couldn't be happier with how things went so this is fine!" and she ends this chapter about how "inspired" she is by him which is like, inspiration porn ableism at best, and also just a terrible story (I think this one inspired her to do yoga or something, honestly I forgot, she does yoga a LOT). In another, a 12-day-old baby stops breathing and dies before he gets to the hospital, so she can't save him and she goes home and cries about it, and the baby's death and his family's reaction makes her realize she needs to share her feelings with others. I just... ALL of her stories are like this. Of course, like every other medical memoirist, she has some comment about how medical shows on TV are NOT like real life in a hospital, but every chapter reads like Meredith narrating season one episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and they all end in the same "look at me finding beauty in breaking!" and "it turns out I didn't save the patient...the patient saved ME!" tropes. Most lessons are a reach, all are 70s sitcom cheeseball, and after looking forward to really getting into the nitty gritty of what it's like to be a Black woman navigating and succeeding in a profession that has long been dominated by old white men, while we do get glimpses of this, it's not at all the focus, or even all that developed into something more than the fact that this is how things are and it sucks. She does talk about systemic issues in medicine/society in general, and like I said before, this is where she is at her strongest. I found the story of two white cops trying to force a Black man to get x-rays against his will, claiming he "swallowed bags of drugs," especially powerful, not just for what occurred, but for how the author responded, by standing up for this man's rights and refusing to examine him even though, according to the white resident on duty, "everyone else does it." Her explanation of her actions, why forcing treatment on anyone is unethical, and why this disproportionately happens to Black individuals was an incredible read (and she only SLIGHTLY makes it about her at the end, as she claims this inspires her to quit her job at this particular hospital). I wish her other chapters followed a similar structure, where she uses cases to call out more systemic issues and explains how they affect both the patients and the providers, because THAT is incredibly important and would make for an invaluable breakdown of hospital systems and healthcare in the United States, but instead we mostly get saccharine stories about dying kids that are somehow relevant to the author's dating life. I feel like this book isn't really sure what it wants to be, and it's difficult to get invested, because as soon as you start to find her personal life somewhat engaging, it flips over to more clinical stories, and then when you're in medical mode, it jumps into a discussion of race in America, and when you're on board with that, it goes back to her personal life. It's just clunky. Three stars for the attempt at substance but overall this is a miss for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Powell

    This was an interesting read. An ER physician tells stories of her patients and how she connects them to her own life and situations. It was very factual and clinical but at the same time she discussed yoga, meditation and other non-medicinal ways to work on ourselves through the course of life. I wanted to like it more than I did, but it was still worth the read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beatrice

    This book read more like a series of short stories. Like many memoirs, it is hard for me to rate someone's personal experiences. Michele Harper explores her personal experiences as an ER doctor--revealing the many systemic issues in medicine. She touches on her own personal backstory, the stories of her patients, and the systemic issues within medicine. There were some chapters that were stronger than others. The structure and flow of it was off for me. Because the memoir touched on several diff This book read more like a series of short stories. Like many memoirs, it is hard for me to rate someone's personal experiences. Michele Harper explores her personal experiences as an ER doctor--revealing the many systemic issues in medicine. She touches on her own personal backstory, the stories of her patients, and the systemic issues within medicine. There were some chapters that were stronger than others. The structure and flow of it was off for me. Because the memoir touched on several different topics, I essentially wanted more depth/exploration of each topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kacie

    I really appreciated this memoir. I almost didn't select it as a BOTM choice because there weren't many reviews yet, but it sounded right up my alley (I love memoir!). Beautifully written with great storytelling and a larger narrative theme of well, beauty in breaking. We get various stories from the ER doctor's life, and she has had many challenges. As you might expect from a book by an ER doctor, there are hard, heavy stories within. I disagree with reviewers who felt it was preachy or self-help I really appreciated this memoir. I almost didn't select it as a BOTM choice because there weren't many reviews yet, but it sounded right up my alley (I love memoir!). Beautifully written with great storytelling and a larger narrative theme of well, beauty in breaking. We get various stories from the ER doctor's life, and she has had many challenges. As you might expect from a book by an ER doctor, there are hard, heavy stories within. I disagree with reviewers who felt it was preachy or self-helpy. Some of the medical acronyms and lingo were unfamiliar to me and if the text didn't explain it, I found myself looking it up. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit artificial, but that can happen when we rely on our memories for a long-ago conversation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tiffani Long

    Holy moly.... I devoured this book in a day. This was my July Book of the Month pick and I'm SO GLAD I stepped outside my normal genres (see! This is why I love Book of the Month...I pick titles I normally wouldn't even consider. I can send anyone a link to join for a discount...just comment below!) Anyway. This is the memoir of a female ER doctor who tells through each chapter a unique story of patients she's treated, and really how she herself has been healed from her traumatic, abusive childh Holy moly.... I devoured this book in a day. This was my July Book of the Month pick and I'm SO GLAD I stepped outside my normal genres (see! This is why I love Book of the Month...I pick titles I normally wouldn't even consider. I can send anyone a link to join for a discount...just comment below!) Anyway. This is the memoir of a female ER doctor who tells through each chapter a unique story of patients she's treated, and really how she herself has been healed from her traumatic, abusive childhood by treating them. She treated her patients with wisdom, authority and yet a beautiful humility and care that we'd all beg for in an emergency situation. I underlined things like it was a self-help book, but truly her writing is profound and real and human. I felt like my friend was writing this book and we were chatting, not a prestigious Harvard medical doctor with numerous awards and accolades to her name.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I finished this a few weeks ago, and I still find myself thinking about it. It’s such a beautifully written book that weaves together the personal and professional in a remarkably seamless manner. I’m absolutely blown away. By her writing, her determination, her fortitude in the face of blatant disrespect and bias, her commitment to and respect for her patients. All of it. Everything she lays bare here.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Broughton

    The insight into the ER and the healthcare system was compelling. The empathy, self-reflection, and discovery of healing depicted encourages readers to do the same. Otherwise, reads like a self-help book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne Steckowych

    So incredibly relatable as an ER nurse. I could picture myself in every room with her and have had the very same experiences, the good and bad. It's a good reminder during these difficult times what our focus as medical professionals should be- to heal, both the body and the mind regardless of the barriers set forth by modern healthcare.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Camie

    Dr Michelle Harper is a Harvard educated ER doctor who has written this memoir about how serving others has helped heal herself. Among obstacles she faced are being an African American woman in a mostly white patriarchal system, coming up in a house where her father abused her mother, and having her husband of 12 years ask for a divorce just as she was finally ready to start her career. Finding herself badly broken she pours her heart and soul into her career and learns to both rebuild her life Dr Michelle Harper is a Harvard educated ER doctor who has written this memoir about how serving others has helped heal herself. Among obstacles she faced are being an African American woman in a mostly white patriarchal system, coming up in a house where her father abused her mother, and having her husband of 12 years ask for a divorce just as she was finally ready to start her career. Finding herself badly broken she pours her heart and soul into her career and learns to both rebuild her life and become a voice to help patients who are falling through the cracks of a faulty medical system. I’ve heard this book called the Eat , Pray, Love, of medicine with similar references to naval gazing, but having spent my career as a RN before becoming weighed down with career ending family issues including my own chronic illness, I found her medical vignettes both interesting and very insightful. This book was published before the Corona Virus arrived to change the face of healthcare in the world so I hope Harper considers writing another book to share her new experiences. “ And of course, thank you to the ground that relentlessly rises up to meet us as long as we’re willing to take the next step.” Read for BOMC Sept 5 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa ❤️

    “Today IS a good day, I thought. (I breathed it in.) Today is a day of blessings and gratitude. (I breathed it out.)” “Forgiveness condones nothing, but it does cast off the chains of anger, judgment, resentment, denial, and pain that choke growth. In this way, it allows for life, for freedom. So that’s what’s at stake when it comes to forgiveness: freedom. With this freedom we can feel better, be better, and choose better next time.”

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anita Yoder

    Beautiful, raw, and real. Sometimes I couldn't follow the medical lingo but I could always follow her strong heart beat. Her absolute commitment to healing and wholeness, paired with a stunning way with words, made this a delightful read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Stenger

    This was a beautiful and timely book, written by someone who knows and has thought about life and death. I actually called my mother to read her a few passages. I felt like this book was truthful about tough realities, but in the most compassionate way. It had a place for hope, which feels earned through experience by Dr. Michele Harper.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    This was a fantastic and inspiring read. I loved reading about the patients that Michele Harper had to take care of and the horrors that she went through in her childhood. Her story of growth and of healing was extremely empowering. 5 star read!

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