Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review - Between Two Kingdoms; Suleika Jaouad


TITLE/AUTHORBetween Two Kingdoms; Suleika Jaouad

PUBLISHER: Random House


GENRE: Non Fiction / Memoir

FORMAT:  eGalley /LENGTH: 368 pp

SOURCE: NetGalley


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A memoir of a young woman's five year battle with acute myeloid leukemia and her subsequent return to the life of the living.

BRIEF REVIEW:  Shortly before Suleika Jaouad's graduation from Princeton something was not right. It began with an itch on her feet and legs that only got worse. Soon bloody oozing scars from constant scratching appeared and she was tired all the time.  All this as she moved to Paris for a journalist's position as a war correspondent along with her boyfriend Will.  Her time in Paris was short-lived as constant fatigue set in and blood work raised red flags and, shortly before her 23rd birthday she was back home with her parents in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia which was attacking her bone marrow, she was given a 35% chance of survival. Her long stays at Sloan Kettering and grueling treatments which included a bone marrow transplant from her brother were just the beginning. She tries to stay positive and begins to document the process in an open and very honest manner. She even had a column in the NY Times.

Despite how difficult her cancer ordeal obviously had been, once she gets to begin living her life once again proves almost as difficult.  In a 100 day cross country trip with her dog she connects with many of the individuals who showed concern for her or who shared their personal stories with during her lengthy journey.  

This memoir is extremely well-written but, it took me a long time to finish as I found I could only read in small doses.  I'm glad I tried this one and, obviously, she was one of the lucky ones - she beat the odds.  It did make me feel for all the individuals who were not as fortunate as Suleika.  She had an excellent family support system and financial concerns never seemed an issue.  Her parents also had a place in NYC as well as Saratoga Springs so they were able to be with her and, she was able to continue on what seemed like an excellent health insurance plan that her father had.  A well-written memoir but difficult to read.

RATING:  4/5 stars


  1. This sounds like an emotional memoir.

  2. I can understand why you could only read in small doses.

  3. I can see how that would be a difficult read. Probably not for me at this point, but props to you for persevering.

  4. I think I'd need to read this is small doses, too!

  5. Oh, this sounds very good but also one you need to read slowly and in bits here and there. I had no idea from the cover what the book was about. I have been seeing it around but thought it was a travel narrative.

  6. The subject matter of this one would make it a hard read.

  7. I bet this was a difficult read. Poor woman, I'm glad she pulled through!

  8. I know someone battling this right now and boy is it a tough run of treatments!

  9. I have a friend dealing with cancer right now and another one who died from it last year. Maybe someday I could read this but not right now. Thank you for your review, however.

  10. I've had this from Audible since last month and plan to start it tomorrow since the book I started a few days ago was a DNF.

  11. I want to read this one. It's definitely one of those hard to read, but one that offers hope as well.


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