Book Review: The Beauty in Breaking

“We had both crossed thresholds that day. We had both braced ourselves and covered our heads as the walls of our glass houses has shattered around us. We had trod mindfully over and shard and escaped with nonfatal wounds to a new freedom, a new clarity, a new resolve.” – Michele Harper

The other week I was casually strolling through the library, I somehow landed in the memoir section. If I am being honest I have felt breaking recently both within myself and the world so when I saw the title ‘The Beauty in Breaking’ I picked it up.

I didn’t know what to expect, I had never heard of Michele Harper and I did not know her story at all. As soon as I finished the first chapter I knew I needed to take the book home.

This memoir covers Michele’s life, her life as a black woman in the world, as a victim of abuse, as an ER doctor, and more. It covers Michele’s life and who she is as a person so vividly but it also covers her patients.

It shows how Michele’s story is intertwined with her patients. It makes parallels between hurting emotionally and hurting physically, breaking in secrete and breaking in public, letting go of your past while also letting it in. There are deeply personal stories that are given light that would have been kicked under the fridge if it weren’t for this book.

Michele didn’t tell her story, she told all of our stories because at some point in our lives we will break. The good thing is, there is beauty in breaking.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book, there is no backstory as to not give away the chapter but they still send chills down my spine.

  • I marveled at how she had waited, how she had known. I marveled at how she hadn’t left until her family had arrived. How she had returned to say her last good-byes and only then had she taken her final rest.
  • How would I tell him that her silenced body had called out to be heard, cared for, saved? I wondered if I should go into detail about how the body can house a million truths that may not be readily apparent on the surface, or how so much wisdom flows beneath the skin.
  • And usually this trauma is layered onto prior unresolved traumas to tip the balance to an altered state. As the spirit struggles for protection, it can become frozen, can splinter, shatter, quiver inside not knowing how to heal.
  • What struck me powerfully was that he had honored every word of his inner contract….I wondered too about my contract with myself. I thought about how I needed to love myself enough to allow others to fulfill their contracts with themselves. A human being can never treat another person better than he treats himself.

There are certainly more than this but I want you to read it yourself so I can’t share all the love.

I thought I was reading this book because I wanted to but I now realize that I read this book because I needed to. I needed the raw and open vulnerability and Michele and her patients offer. I needed the moment of peace to remember that we are all human, we are all going through something, and we all break. I needed to be reminded that although we are breaking we are also healing. I needed to be shown that healing happens for broken bodies, but also for broken hearts, souls, and minds. Michele shows that healing needs help, healing requires more than one person, healing is beautiful. She shows us that even though the heartbreaking is scary, you can still be hopeful. Michele shows the power in healing each other, she shows it in herself but also in her patients.

You see Michele go from a broken child who picked up her pieces and because a strong, honest, compassionate, and open doctor and individual. You cannot turn the pages fast enough, and when it is over you wish it could go on forever.

I am waiting for the paperback version to be released and I will surely by myself a copy of this book, it speaks volumes more than just some ink on paper and everyone deserves to read it.

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