Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted

By: Suleika Jaouad

“Grief is a ghost that visits you without warning. It comes in the night and rips you from your sleep. It fills your chest with shards of glass. It interrupts you mid-laugh when you’re at a party, chastising you that, just for a moment you’ve forgotten. It haunts you until it becomes a part of you, shadowing you breath for breath.”

Suleika Jaouad graduated from college. In the summer following, she fell in love and moved to Paris. She was ready to enter the real world. However, things didn’t go as she originally planned. It started with an itch on her feet and then her legs. She became exhausted and naps didn’t help. She was getting worse and worse. She traveled back to NY to see doctors there and she got the worst news of her life. At 22 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia, with a 35% chance of a survival rate. For the next almost 4 years, Suleika would spend most of her time in bed, in and out of the hospital, with long stays in the hospital. She endured chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant. She finally walked out of the hospital cured. But she had a different problem. She had been living the past 4 years trying to survive, she forgot how to live. She then decides to embark on at 100 day road trip across the country meeting those who had written to her during her time in the hospital to help her find her way in her life and learn how to live again.

This book is equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. The author did not glaze over everything that she went through as a cancer patient. In fact, some of the details were hard to read only because you felt so bad that she and other cancer patients have to endure this at all. I can’t even imagine being that young and having to fight to live. I’m not sure I would have had her strength and bravery to get through it all. She is truly insprational.

What I also enjoyed about this book was how the author was very honest about the toll it takes on the caregivers. I appreciated her reflection as to what was happening in the moment, and her needs and how she treated the caregivers around her. It was very honest; such honesty that even if others had the same experience, I’m not sure they would have been able to express those thoughts to others.

I would definitely suggest this book to anyone that enjoys memoirs. You can get your copy here.