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The Beauty in Breaking - Michele Harper

The Beauty in Breaking

By Michele Harper

  • Release Date: 2020-07-07
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 125 Ratings


A New York Times Bestseller

A New York Times Notable Book

“Riveting, heartbreaking, sometimes difficult, always inspiring.” —The New York Times Book Review

As seen/heard on Fresh AirThe Daily Show with Trevor Noah, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Weekend Edition, and more

An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself.

Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.

In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.


  • Boring ...

    By dogsinthe sky
    Boring ....and badly written don’t bother....
  • Beautiful courageous and compassionate memoir!

    By kaykaybean13
    Michelle is not only a powerhouse as an ER physician but she can write so lovely that I found myself several times filling with the emotions she was describing and I absolutely loved the way she practiced medicine- she incorporated mind body soul and was able to see past the thousands of similar patients and get to the humanity of them as well. Whether there she’d find a kindred spirit or a broken soul or shattered spirit, she would always apply the Eastern healing practices that also heal mend and recognize the suffering or the symptoms of the spiritual and emotional part of her patients. If I’d been so lucky to have been treated by this kind fearless and truly benevolent woman as my own healer or physician I can’t imagine how I’d receive her but I found myself often wondering and then certain I’d welcome her with all the life I’d left wherever or however she found me. I absolutely loved how she also mentions the atrocious experiences that she had with systemic and industrialized racism and the misogynistic tendencies that whether consciously or sub consciously other felt they were entitled to project upon her. Ugh. It enraged me. Then I did some of her deep cleansing breaths and soldiered on with her through her journey in her personal, professional, and spiritual life. Her empathy with her VA patients, her perspectives on how we leave our soldiers ill equipped to be mainstreamed into society after battles or trauma from military sacrifices. These are the very humans we all should be caring so deeply for and be grateful for their service sacrifice and bravery.
  • Author Exhibits Narcissism & Victim Thinking

    By Nicole Book Reviews
    Unfortunately, this is the first book that I simply could not force myself to finish. Throughout the 400 pages that I did read, every scenario described has the same theme: the author is the lone perfect healer against an evil world of which everyone else belongs. The book is simply one scenario after another of describing how horrible other people are while she tries to save the world. Quite frankly, it seems more like a love note to herself. Even the descriptions of healthcare situations couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am a passionate reader, but this book was simply awful and quite frankly irritated me throughout. I wish there was a way to get my money back.
  • For the new nurses

    By Han RN
    This book was a little push from the universe to take control of my life in order to be a better healer. Dr. Harper thank you so much!
  • Just another white privilege sob story.

    By TiredOfWhiners
    Started out OK, but eventually evolved into screed about white privilege, blah, blah, blah. Deleted book from my d3vice and moving away from Apple Books
  • The Beauty in Breaking

    By Joanabake
    The writing comes straight from the heart, poetry in prose. I loved this book and everyone’s story that aligned with hers. The book rings with personal truth on every page.