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The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of…

The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That… (edition 2019)

by Julie Yip-Williams (Author)

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1206157,559 (3.94)3
"Born blind in Vietnam, Julie Yip-Williams narrowly escaped euthanasia by her grandmother, only to then flee the political upheaval of the late 1970s with her family. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. Against all odds, she became a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, a life. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began. The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. Motherhood, marriage, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, grief, jealousy, anger, comfort, pain, disease--there is simply nothing this book is not about. Growing out of a blog Julie has kept through the past four years of her life (undertaken because she couldn't find the guidance she needed through her disease), this is the story of a life lived so well, and cut too short. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep. With glorious humor, beautiful and bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams has set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life"--… (more)
Title:The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After
Authors:Julie Yip-Williams (Author)
Info:Random House (2019), 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Books read in 2020

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The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-williams

  1. 00
    When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (eo206)
  2. 00
    Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved by Kate Bowler (akblanchard, MM_Jones)
    akblanchard: Young, well-educated, spiritually-attuned mothers face colorectal cancer.
    MM_Jones: Insightful, positive take by young mother with fatal illness. Includes wonderful section on what to do and say in such circumstances.

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I found the author's willingness to share her innermost thoughts and personal struggles during her cancer journey to be brave and moving. Some may be off-put by Yip-Williams perceived negativity, but having been a caregiver for my mother who had colon cancer, many of her more damning assessments are accurate.

For those who struggle with the "everlasting hope and optimism" model when it comes to those dealing with terminal illness, I think they will find this author's conclusions affirming. ( )
  joyjohnston | Dec 3, 2019 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one level it's the memoir of a wealthy Chinese-American New York lawyer who is diagnosed with late stage bowel cancer in her late 30s and dies a few years later. She can afford to give herself the best possible chance of survival and, failing that, the best death experience. Not everyone has that luxury available to them. She reveals herself to be a controlling and almost manipulative person, following the example of the women of previous generations in her family. On the other hand, I think Yip-Williams has some very honest and useful observations to make about the cancer community and the process of dying - at any age - and I think the book is well worth reading for that alone. As I think more and more about my own death and how I want to live my life between now and then, books such as this one and, better, Helen Garner's 'The Spare Room', and also Atul Gawande's 'Being Mortal', help me to focus on the bigger issues of my own death and the deaths of people I love. ( )
  oldblack | May 9, 2019 |
Julie Yip-Williams is one of my heroes, but so is her husband Joshua Williams. Having gone through a similar situation with my father who died from his cancer at home surrounded by his family, just as he wished, I know the emotional and psychological cost to Josh and his daughters, as well as the importance of doing what they did to honor his wife's wishes. Julie has done us all a tremendous service by writing her tale, taking us insider her deepest secrets, dreams, hopes and finally, her coming to terms with the inevitable. This is a great book for anyone having to face their death being sooner than later, those who are their caregivers and anyone who just wishes to be a better person able to show empathy for others. Thank you Julie for helping us all to face our futures with courage, grace and honesty. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Mar 2, 2019 |
Harvard-educated lawyer Julie Yip-Williams is leading an affluent fairy-tale life, with a wonderful husband and two gifted daughters, when she is diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the age of 38. Able to afford the best medical care, she does all she can to enhance the quality of her remaining days. What makes her story remarkable is that she was born into dire poverty to an ethnic Chinese family in Vietnam. She had severe congenital cataracts, and her own grandmother insisted that she be euthanized rather than allowed to live as a burden to her family. Fortunately, a twist of fate prevented this from happening.

It may sound churlish to say this, but I did not like this book as much as I thought I would. Derived from Yip-Williams's blog posts, the narrative is redundant and doesn't always flow well. Her writing style is stilted in places. There's a certain amount of humblebragging as well. While I admire her courage in the face of early death, I can't say the same for this book. ( )
  akblanchard | Feb 13, 2019 |
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