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The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir Paperback – June 29, 2021
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“The Beauty in Breaking takes us into the life in an emergency room—the drama, the adrenaline, the emotion—with such immediacy that I could not help but be completely enthralled by the individual stories of the patients that Michele Harper treats. But this powerful, poignant page-turner of a book also tells a much larger and universal story about how healing actually happens, not just for broken bodies but for broken hearts and souls. In sharing the stories of her patients and her own life, Harper shows us that that healing begins only after we are broken open ourselves. And she shows us with hopeful, heartbreaking clarity that it comes from healing each other.” —Kerry Egan, author of On Living
“The Beauty in Breaking is a compelling page-turner about how Dr. Michele Harper took a broken childhood and wove herself into a strong, honest, compassionate doctor. A must read.” —Louann Brizendine, MD, author of The Female Brain
“Tackling such painful subjects as domestic abuse, trauma, and racism with grace and wisdom, this eloquent book probes the human condition as it chronicles a woman’s ever evolving spiritual journey. A profoundly humane memoir from a thoughtful doctor.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Taking on the painful topics of trauma, domestic abuse, and the ‘ubiquitous microaggressions faced by people of color,’ Harper witnesses the resilience of the human spirit of her patients and begins her own process of self-healing. . . . This powerful story will resonate with readers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Harper’s words inspire hope and understanding of the importance of peace and acceptance of the past. Poignant, helpful, and encouraging, [her] lessons from life in and outside of the emergency room ultimately teach readers how to trust the healing process.” —Library Journal
“In this illuminating memoir, an African American emergency room doctor finds that her patients’ stories lead her to make connections between her work and the larger world.” —Shelf Awareness
“A book for our times, Harper’s debut is a compelling memoir about her life as a Black woman emergency room doctor and how that work overlaps with the complexities of life. Harper explores hurt and healing, race and gender, justice and hope with candor and compassion.” —Ms. Magazine
“A moving, beautifully written memoir.” —New York Post
- Publisher : Riverhead Books (June 29, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525537392
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525537397
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The author, an ER doctor of obvious skill, dedication, and passion, is, as she says "a healer." But more than that, she is a thoughtful and curious woman who is as affected by her patients as she affects them. From children to the very old, from people of dignity and control to addicts, alcoholics, and malingerers, each encounter she describes causes her to tie the patient's struggle to something happening in her own life at the same time: love, divorce, loneliness, self-care, job insecurity...
Harper weaves together a compelling and ultimately optimistic story of her puzzling to make sense of the souls that cross her path in various hospitals: her patients, her colleagues, the broken systems called US Healthcare, the steps she takes to heal herself, even as she works to heal her patients.
Ultimately, this is a story of Harper's ability to forgive and recover, stronger, from the many times she was broken: by her father, by a system that promotes mediocrity and masculinity, by despairing patients bent on self-destruction, by her yearning for a child and for righteousness.
Michele Harper brings us along as she makes life and death decisions for a living, and ultimately chooses to keep pursuing a richer life for herself and encourages the reader to do the same. She says "I knew that after letting go, there is forgiveness; after forgiveness, there is faith."
This is an encouraging story to hear from a front-line hero as we struggle with the loss of faith and societal structure in the midst of the biggest medical challenge in a century. Michele Harper moves far beyond medicine to share her pursuit of health, and ultimately leaves the reader with "... a message to love more, no matter what, to be happy now, no matter what."
I wasn't able to get past the 3rd chapter because of the way the author writes about the black people in her life mostly her dysfunctional family. There wasn't a single positive thing she said about her family and was extremely critical of them. That's not necessarily an issue in and of itself. I found it rather disturbing that when she talks about her boyfriend, who happens to be white, she uses nothing but a lovely description for him and yet he breaks her heart . She talks about how he smells and feels and all that nonsense. And yet, with all of her criticism of her Black family, they gave her enough for her to reach almost the pinnacle of success. This did not bode well for me . I no longer wanted to hear anything else she had to say. I just want to make sure none of the people I know ever cross paths with her because that level of self hate could project on people looking like her family.
The first Hospital she claims to have worked for (Andrew Johnson Hospital in Philadelphia) has never existed. I consider the claim that her department chair at this fictional Hospital told her that, though she was well qualified and the only candidate for a quality-oversight administrative role, she couldn't be promoted to it because she was black and female to be questionable at best. Throughout the book, the author is a veritable saint in all things, with all of her numerous failed relationships and career paths due to the shortcomings of everyone else. Just a horrible book.