Between Two Kingdoms - Suleika Jaouad

Between Two Kingdoms

By Suleika Jaouad

  • Release Date: 2021-02-09
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 264 Ratings

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission to re-entry into “normal” life—from the author of the Life, Interrupted column in The New York Times

“I was immersed for the whole ride and would follow Jaouad anywhere. . . . Her writing restores the moon, lights the way as we learn to endure the unknown.”—Chanel Miller, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Beautifully crafted . . . affecting . . . a transformative read . . . Jaouad’s insights about the self, connectedness, uncertainty and time speak to all of us.”—The Washington Post

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 her dream of becoming a war correspondent. The real world she found, however, would take her into a very different kind of conflict zone.

It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Next came the exhaustion, and the six-hour naps that only deepened her fatigue. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. Just like that, the life she had imagined for herself had gone up in flames. By the time Jaouad flew home to New York, she had lost her job, her apartment, and her independence. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times.

When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after countless rounds of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. But as she would soon learn, a cure is not where the work of healing ends; it’s where it begins. She had spent the past 1,500 days in desperate pursuit of one goal—to survive. And now that she’d done so, she realized that she had no idea how to live.

How would she reenter the world and live again? How could she reclaim what had been lost? Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. She set out to meet some of the strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital: a teenage girl in Florida also recovering from cancer; a teacher in California grieving the death of her son; a death-row inmate in Texas who’d spent his own years confined to a room. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives. Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender, and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.

Reviews

  • Excellent

    5
    By FLLtoNYC
    This book touched me profoundly. Thank you.
  • Brilliant, inspiring, beautiful. Thank you!

    5
    By Lore Palli
    Suleika masterfully puts into words the indescribable; and through her craft gives those of us who cannot yet wrap our minds around our own journeys, an outlet through which to feel seen
  • A really good book

    5
    By JT Music
    I read this book in a single weekend and this is a book easy to read and you won’t waste any time going through one end to the other. There is a lot of suffering in that book but as well so a lot of optimism and it feels really good
  • So good.

    5
    By schoenbergersm
    All of it.
  • Team Susu forever!

    5
    By jfreezy2
    So good, I didn’t want it to end. As a fellow lymphomie, I don’t think I could ever have worded my experiences and feelings even a small fraction as well as Susu did. I am grateful for her words, they gave me a sense of validation and reassurance that the feelings we feel when we go from ill to well (and buoy back and forth in between) are real and not just fever dreams.
  • Beautiful soulful real

    5
    By T-Swain
    This book is so beautifully written and puts in eloquent and real worlds what it’s like to deal with a cancer diagnosis. One of the best books I’ve read this year!
  • Excellent

    5
    By Betsy and Craig
    An outstanding journey that covers a broad array of vistas internally and externally. Highly recommend the book.
  • Remarkable

    5
    By Toms River Shore Girl
    Brilliant, brave, wondrous, heartbreaking, tender, funny, kind and brutally honest. A memoir to be underscored, highlighted, talked about, recommended, devoured and read again. Bravo!
  • A remarkable story!

    5
    By MzAZearley
    Since seeing her story on CBS Sunday morning, I have not been able to put this book down. Suleika’s experience with cancer in her young life touched me deeply. Her words are so intensely personal and personable, I felt like I knew her. The road trip to meet a variety of people was one I would like to experience.
  • Excellent

    5
    By Ultradistancehiker
    I was diagnosed with HDGC (CDH1 positive) in 2020 and had a gastrectomy. I’m finishing up adjuvant chemo now in early 2021 and am in that world she describes in her book between being a patient and in remission. It was more than a coincidence that I saw her on TV last weekend and immediately bought her book, and she is helping me through this time more than she knows. An excellent read for cancer patients and friends alike.