The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

I started reading The Emperor of All Maladies on the suggestion of a friend who was diagnosed with cancer, and I’m glad that I did. Not only did it give me insight into the medical world that my friend was trying to navigate, but I also found the book to be a refreshing mix of personal anecdotes from Doctor Siddhartha Mukherjee and historical accounts. For anyone who has stared into cancer’s face (and who hasn’t felt its claws on your own body or the body of someone you love?), I highly recommend this book. If nothing else, it shows we’ve come a long way from disfiguring women into a crippled mess when cutting away cancerous breast tissue. I will admit that the writing and scientific information can feel very dense at times, but picking apart all of the complexities barely gives the reader a full understand of what it’s like for a doctor dissecting patients’ cells to determine how to treat what went wrong. If this book does anything, it shows how far we’ve come in understanding cells, while at the same time highlighting the individuality of each cancer patient.

Age Range: 
High School and Up