The Beauty in Breaking
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.

The Beauty in Breaking Details

TitleThe Beauty in Breaking
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherRiverhead Books
ISBN-139780525537380
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

The Beauty in Breaking Review

  • Shannon A
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kimberley
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tex
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Maggie Cavanaugh
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kacie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jessica Amarant
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Amanda Harris
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Joanne F
    January 1, 1970
    Generally I round up but even though I give this one 3.5, I’m giving it three. I think if you love self-help books and Mitch Albom books, you would probably like this book more than I did.It was marketed as a real-life-not-Grey's-Anatomy story. To me every chapter while she was a doctor could easily have been an episode of a TV show. The fact that she's an ER doctor may play into this since the follow-up treatment would be by different doctors. For example, there is one patient who is absolutely Generally I round up but even though I give this one 3.5, I’m giving it three. I think if you love self-help books and Mitch Albom books, you would probably like this book more than I did.It was marketed as a real-life-not-Grey's-Anatomy story. To me every chapter while she was a doctor could easily have been an episode of a TV show. The fact that she's an ER doctor may play into this since the follow-up treatment would be by different doctors. For example, there is one patient who is absolutely beaten down from her rapes and abuse while she was serving in the Army. But hey, one discussion with the doctor and suddenly she's going to be OK! Or one chat with an alcoholic and you're led to believe he'll be sober forever. A woman is overwhelmed because her husband has cancer and she's been left to raise her autistic grandchild. But one talk with the doc and she remembers that she used to do meditation while studying martial arts. BOOM! Problem is solved. But the cancer and the grandchild still exist. I think there could be three outstanding books here A) The abusive childhood and how she and her siblings survived it. B) The struggles a black woman faces at exclusive schools and in the medical field, C) Stories from her work as a doctor (including political and financial issues). The arguments for integrated medicine could be made here. Instead, it was kind of an abbreviated version of all three of these mashed together and I felt I didn't get enough of any of them. Her father sends her a letter after 20 years and asks for forgiveness. Did they meet? What happened? We never find out. She's not promoted at one hospital because the administration would rather leave the position vacant than promote a POC. The VA is committing fraud. These are mentioned but there is no follow-up. Mainly, what happens to the patients afterwards? Does the abused child ever recover? I felt the stories were incomplete.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Allyson Tuckness
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I was always upset when I had to put it down for any reason. If you are a fan of When Breathe Becomes Air, you will be equally intrigued with this debut memoir. The way Dr Harper’s patients help her see her own life, the thought and time she puts into each of them is beautiful. It made me think and feel and also want more of these patients’ stories.
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  • Anne Steckowych
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Lauren DePino
    January 1, 1970
    In the beginning of THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING, Michele Harper movingly recounts the time she discovered she wanted to become an ER doctor. As a teenager, she had witnessed another troubling instance of physical abuse from her father, one in which her father bit her brother. Having only a learner’s permit, she rushed her brother to the ER. She writes:“As my brother and I left the ER, I marveled at the place, one of bright lights and dark hallways, a place so quiet and yet so throbbing with life. I m In the beginning of THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING, Michele Harper movingly recounts the time she discovered she wanted to become an ER doctor. As a teenager, she had witnessed another troubling instance of physical abuse from her father, one in which her father bit her brother. Having only a learner’s permit, she rushed her brother to the ER. She writes:“As my brother and I left the ER, I marveled at the place, one of bright lights and dark hallways, a place so quiet and yet so throbbing with life. I marveled at how a little girl could be carried in cut and crying and then skip out laughing; at how a bloodied brother could reappear with stitches in his repaired hand; at how the family of a man who had presumably been fine that morning could manage to leave without him to start a new stage of their lives, one in which he would play no part; at how the man without a home could find somewhere to rest until he, too, would have to go back outside to figure out the rest of his day, the rest of his life; at how all of us had converged in these hallowed halls for a chance to reveal our wounds, to offer up our hurt and our pain to be eased.”In THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING, the brilliant Michele Harper beautifully, thoughtfully, compassionately tells the story of how working in emergency medicine can be both healing and transformative. It can also be difficult. She contends with pervasive racism, gender inequality, and the trauma of her past — and she does so with the utmost grace and dignity. There are so many lessons I’ve learned from this book, so many passages I’ve underlined — so read it with a pen in hand! I’ve learned there is a lesson in everything that happens to you and in every person you meet, if you are wise and willing enough to look for it. Everything that happens to her, even an encounter with a belligerent patient, summons humility, understanding, and empathy from her — but not with a lack of self-respect. The author is strong. She also reminds us why we exist — to be healers. We all can be healers, doctors or not. Her story prompts us to ask ourselves: How can we be healers in our everyday lives, in even the smallest of endeavors? I am going to keep that question in the forefront of my mind. This memoir is also spiritual, but not dogmatic. When she treats her patients, Michele draws upon science, but she complements it with warmth and a quality of divinity. She is intuitive; she can hear what her patients aren’t telling her. The best doctors treat the whole self WITH the whole self — the heart, mind, and soul — and this is what Michele does so deftly. She confirms that we have an opportunity to help every person we meet to some degree. It takes trusting your inner-voice and your gut. It takes doing the hard work. It takes a brave amount of hope and love. Thank you, Michele, for teaching me so much. I will continue to learn from you.
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  • Ramblin Hamlin
    January 1, 1970
    This review will be short and sweet. The Beauty in Breaking is a memoir that follows Dr Michele Harper in her journey of self discovery and self-healing. She is an ER doctor and each chapter is a new patient who taught her to find meaning in her own life. It’s beautiful how Dr Harper connects the lives of her patients with her own and how she can use these experiences to guide her in her own life. I’ll end with some of my favorite quotes. If you find meaning in these, then I highly recommend thi This review will be short and sweet. The Beauty in Breaking is a memoir that follows Dr Michele Harper in her journey of self discovery and self-healing. She is an ER doctor and each chapter is a new patient who taught her to find meaning in her own life. It’s beautiful how Dr Harper connects the lives of her patients with her own and how she can use these experiences to guide her in her own life. I’ll end with some of my favorite quotes. If you find meaning in these, then I highly recommend this book. “If I can find stillness in this chaos, if I could find love beyond this violence, if I could heal these layers of wounds, then I would be the doctor in my own emergency room” “Forgiveness condones nothing, but it does cast off the chains of anger, judgement, 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.”“As long as we’re willing to move forward, to nourish our body and spirit and allow for the disintegration of any attachments to the patterns that do not serve us, without our understanding exactly how the next bits will fall into place, beautiful outcomes do unfold.”
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    It’s ironic that I’ve always been drawn to television shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, when I could never be a doctor or a nurse. I guess that is why I loved ‘The Beauty in Breaking’.This is one of those books that just grabs you from the first page. I really enjoyed the author’s tone and voice. Reading this book was like having a conversation with a friend that you didn’t want to end.With everything that is going on right now with the pandemic, we are all coming to realize that our healthcare It’s ironic that I’ve always been drawn to television shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, when I could never be a doctor or a nurse. I guess that is why I loved ‘The Beauty in Breaking’.This is one of those books that just grabs you from the first page. I really enjoyed the author’s tone and voice. Reading this book was like having a conversation with a friend that you didn’t want to end.With everything that is going on right now with the pandemic, we are all coming to realize that our healthcare workers are the true heroes in our country. Harper points out that it is a job like any service industry. They are not spared from rude and belligerent patients. They may face violence from the very people they are trying to help, and yet they press on.I found Harper’s stories very compelling. When she is denied a promotion due to the fact that she is a Black woman, rather than her qualifications, she decides it is time to move on, as she stated, ‘she is here to ascend’.I generally prefer fiction but I found this story to be as entertaining as any novel would have been. It is a great read. I highly recommend.
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  • Julie Rhinehart
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Shaun Shepard
    January 1, 1970
    “Brokenness can be a remarkable gift. If we allow it, it can expand our space to transform.”I enjoyed this heartfelt memoir chronicling the experiences of an African American ER doctor in NY and Philly. Her own personal transformation and the lives of her patients inspired me. The only aspect that I struggled with is the somewhat awkward entertaining of her own story and the stories of her patients seem to be smooshed together in a way that didn’t really work for me; they seemed too separate. I “Brokenness can be a remarkable gift. If we allow it, it can expand our space to transform.”I enjoyed this heartfelt memoir chronicling the experiences of an African American ER doctor in NY and Philly. Her own personal transformation and the lives of her patients inspired me. The only aspect that I struggled with is the somewhat awkward entertaining of her own story and the stories of her patients seem to be smooshed together in a way that didn’t really work for me; they seemed too separate. I wish the book had been longer; another 100 pages could have added even more engrossing details. That said, if you like Grey’s and memoirs - this is a book for you!
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  • Kira
    January 1, 1970
    As a future physician, this memoir was definitely something that caught my attention. The things that Dr. Harper highlights in this memoir go beyond the patient cases and incorporate aspects of her own emotional and spiritual development. I would highly recommend this as a read for anyone interested in the medical profession. She also delves into life as a Black female physician, which holds its own challenges and highlights the extent to which racism affects the treatment of Black medical profe As a future physician, this memoir was definitely something that caught my attention. The things that Dr. Harper highlights in this memoir go beyond the patient cases and incorporate aspects of her own emotional and spiritual development. I would highly recommend this as a read for anyone interested in the medical profession. She also delves into life as a Black female physician, which holds its own challenges and highlights the extent to which racism affects the treatment of Black medical professionals. The micro and macro aggressions that she experienced are impermissible and I hope that these things start to change.
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  • AnneMarie
    January 1, 1970
    I really really enjoyed her stories of the patient accounts at the ER - but I ended up skipping through much of her psychological babble and “lessons” in forgiveness. (Going into what she would have said or could have done or even worse - what caused the wrong actions in others were boring and just speculated on at best. (Except her own process of course.) We are all human - and living often very messy lives. Knowing and accepting “that” is where our forgiveness lies... for ourselves and others. I really really enjoyed her stories of the patient accounts at the ER - but I ended up skipping through much of her psychological babble and “lessons” in forgiveness. (Going into what she would have said or could have done or even worse - what caused the wrong actions in others were boring and just speculated on at best. (Except her own process of course.) We are all human - and living often very messy lives. Knowing and accepting “that” is where our forgiveness lies... for ourselves and others. I think her spiritual and self help writing will improve as her own spiritual process goes deeper - when she can let herself go.... not be so controlled in life outside the hospital and in print. Michelle’s strongest writing is in the ER. I am a believer in the benefits of yoga and spirituality- but this reminded me of new age surface healing. Personally I feel that if she wants to continue as a self help author (not my recommendation) she needs to go deeper. I‘d like more raw depth and self honesty/reflection - and please skip the desire to be perfect or a therapist and be the obviously very good doctor she is. Her patients need her. Tell us more about that.... I’m held captive at those times. Yawning at the rest. Lastly, I believe her editors could have fixed this and the book could have been 5 stars and not just 3.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up. Pros: A good book to read during a hard time (I’m glad I read this exactly when I did; a comforting companion); enjoyed the author’s perspectives about medicine, yoga and healing; it was powerful to hear a variety of true stories from the ER as well as the author’s history as a child in a home full of domestic violence. Cons: something about this book just didn’t click for me; maybe it was the different stories in each chapter, but I just never felt really hooked on the boo 3.5 stars rounded up. Pros: A good book to read during a hard time (I’m glad I read this exactly when I did; a comforting companion); enjoyed the author’s perspectives about medicine, yoga and healing; it was powerful to hear a variety of true stories from the ER as well as the author’s history as a child in a home full of domestic violence. Cons: something about this book just didn’t click for me; maybe it was the different stories in each chapter, but I just never felt really hooked on the book, really *in*.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Can't say enough about this book. Love this book. This book was so well written and inspirational to me. Makes you realize that the beauty comes with in yourself. In order to help others, you have help yourself first. She is an inspiration to us all and the dedication she is giving to her patients and her self healing is amazing. Love this book. Recommend this book to everyone, whether you are in the health field or not. This book will be with me for always and will help me to heal myself and th Can't say enough about this book. Love this book. This book was so well written and inspirational to me. Makes you realize that the beauty comes with in yourself. In order to help others, you have help yourself first. She is an inspiration to us all and the dedication she is giving to her patients and her self healing is amazing. Love this book. Recommend this book to everyone, whether you are in the health field or not. This book will be with me for always and will help me to heal myself and the work I do. ❤❤❤❤
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  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve always held high regard for good physicians. You can not be a good physician without giving 100% of yourself. To be a good doctor isn’t a part of who you are, it is who you are. An amazing insight into the life of an emergency room doctor and what it means to carry that title. A very poignant read during a pandemic. The stories I am reading daily on doctors who continue to arrive at work, despite the pandemic, knowing there is always a possibility they may become infected is awe inspiring. I’ve always held high regard for good physicians. You can not be a good physician without giving 100% of yourself. To be a good doctor isn’t a part of who you are, it is who you are. An amazing insight into the life of an emergency room doctor and what it means to carry that title. A very poignant read during a pandemic. The stories I am reading daily on doctors who continue to arrive at work, despite the pandemic, knowing there is always a possibility they may become infected is awe inspiring.
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  • Bookmarked by Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t normally love books with a blatant inspirational or “self-help” message and I was assuming (incorrectly as always) that this would be too preachy for me BUT I WAS WRONG! Yes, Michele Harper’s story is definitely one of “keep pushing through life” but it’s told through stories of patients she saw in the ER. If you’re squeamish about medical stuff there’s none of that so don’t fret. I really liked Harper’s writing, I found it easygoing and eloquent. I think a lot of people will enjoy this I don’t normally love books with a blatant inspirational or “self-help” message and I was assuming (incorrectly as always) that this would be too preachy for me BUT I WAS WRONG! Yes, Michele Harper’s story is definitely one of “keep pushing through life” but it’s told through stories of patients she saw in the ER. If you’re squeamish about medical stuff there’s none of that so don’t fret. I really liked Harper’s writing, I found it easygoing and eloquent. I think a lot of people will enjoy this style of memoir as it definitely crosses themes and interests. Really liked this one!!
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  • Cindy H.
    January 1, 1970
    Michelle Harper is not only a compassionate & skillful physician, she is also a gifted writer and memoirist. I found some medical jargon unclear but for the most part, Dr. Harper did a good job of explaining all terminology & procedures. I admit I was squeamish in some parts,but that’s probably more me than the content. Narration was soulful and contemplative. The first ER story nearly broke me. There is a lot of sadness in this book but also light. Michelle Harper is not only a compassionate & skillful physician, she is also a gifted writer and memoirist. I found some medical jargon unclear but for the most part, Dr. Harper did a good job of explaining all terminology & procedures. I admit I was squeamish in some parts,but that’s probably more me than the content. Narration was soulful and contemplative. The first ER story nearly broke me. There is a lot of sadness in this book but also light.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    This book reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love -- a lot of navel-gazing. The connections she made between her patient's cases and her own personal struggles and growth seemed a little forced. Parts of the story were definitely interesting -- her patients (like watching a car accident...) and her adolescence, but again, I got tired of her endless ruminating about her life, her yoga practice, and her thoughts on her abusive father (whom she forgives VERY quickly after years of not speaking to him). In t This book reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love -- a lot of navel-gazing. The connections she made between her patient's cases and her own personal struggles and growth seemed a little forced. Parts of the story were definitely interesting -- her patients (like watching a car accident...) and her adolescence, but again, I got tired of her endless ruminating about her life, her yoga practice, and her thoughts on her abusive father (whom she forgives VERY quickly after years of not speaking to him). In the end, I can't recommend it.
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  • Kristi Connell
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this memoir. The author is an emergency room physician who weaves stories from her practice together with lessons she’s learned in her personal life. Each chapter is a different story and a different lesson. As a result, it’s a quick little read. If I’m being honest, the lessons started to feel a little bit hokey by the end, but the book wrapped up by the time I began feeling that way, so it’s a minor flaw. The last chapter is devastating. You’ll need to sit with it for a bit.
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  • Calvin
    January 1, 1970
    This was beautiful. It's about growth from tragedy. It's about what is currently broken about the systems Dr. Harper has experienced. It's about being a doctor. And it's about finding peace. I could barely stop reading this, as each chapter was fascinating and inspiring.I also loved her writing style and diction. She uses a vocabulary that is beyond your standard pop writing, but still accessible to me at least. I hope every doctor can channel their inner Dr. Harper, and I hope she writes more b This was beautiful. It's about growth from tragedy. It's about what is currently broken about the systems Dr. Harper has experienced. It's about being a doctor. And it's about finding peace. I could barely stop reading this, as each chapter was fascinating and inspiring.I also loved her writing style and diction. She uses a vocabulary that is beyond your standard pop writing, but still accessible to me at least. I hope every doctor can channel their inner Dr. Harper, and I hope she writes more because I would definitely read it.
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  • Danielle Gosson
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing book! I loved each story told by the doctor. Each one so different, and pulling at heartstrings. She tells of the challenges of being black and female in the medical field. She also tells us about the unjustness that some hospitals suffer from. So heartfelt, so well written and so captivating. This was a memorable read for me and I’m glad to have picked it up.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. The content in this memoir was important and so so good; Systemic racism, sexism, the many many problems with caring for veterans and the poor and underserved. It was a series of case studies that she uses to show areas where improvement in healthcare are necessary. With that said... it wasn’t the most amazing read I’ve read this year. I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t my favorite.
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