Between Two Kingdoms - Suleika Jaouad

Between Two Kingdoms

By Suleika Jaouad

  • Release Date: 2021-02-09
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 85 Ratings


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.

“A work of breathtaking creativity.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love
“Elegant and heartbreaking.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies
“Mended parts I thought were forever disintegrated.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
“A propulsive, soulful story of mourning and gratitude.”—Tara Westover, author of Educated

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.


  • Excellent

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

    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!

    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

    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.
  • Superb

    By ladybug 5252
    Once I started her story I could’t stop reading. It’s a beautifully written book full of wisdom. I know It will stay with me for a long long time.