Emperor of All Maladies–review

The Emperor of All MaladiesThe Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After I got used to the narrator’s voice and intonation (think Nixon-like growl)I found this to be a good listen. The only problem with listening to a book like this is that I had to step back often if I missed something while multi-tasking. There was one chart where I just gave up trying to figure out what was going on and waited until the narrative moved on. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to parse. I was worried that it would be too technical to listen to, but found the prose quite approachable.

I had never really spent much time thinking about cancer. Sure, I have thought about how horrible cancer is, and have had friends and family survive and die from it. It is not, however, a happy topic and I tend to avoid unhappy things in general. It is only that I saw two of my friends on goodreads had it on their list and that it was featured in audible that I decided to give it a go.

The story of cancer is inherently interesting. It is a mystery–how it develops, why it can present so differently in each individual, and how to treat it. Unfortunately, it is clear that the mystery is really nowhere close to being solved. Little pieces of the puzzle are being put together, but it’s not all the same puzzle. Cancer is a generic term for many types of cancer, and the details of which cancer make all the difference.

I wouldn’t say the book is depressing, but it’s not particularly filled with hope. There have been huge strides made in treating some cancers, but there has been almost no progress with others.

I did really like (can you say anything about cancer is enjoyable?) learning about the history of cancer. The history is presented well, and the use of individual patient anecdotes make the book very approachable. Listening to a lot of the technical terms was a little tricky, but I decided I could live without remembering the exact names of individual drugs and genetic terminology.

View all my reviews

To buy this book on Amazon (and, yes, I make an affiliate profit) Click here: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

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