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The Beauty in Breaking Beauty shot

The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper (Riverhead Books)

The Beauty in Breaking Beauty shot

September 1, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Every time I read a memoir I say to myself, “ Kelly…..why don’t you do this more often?” I have always been fascinated by other people’s stories…. Sometimes it’s me being nosey 🤣🤣, but mostly I enjoy reading about someone else’s  journey and perspective on life.  Memoirs to me ignite empathy and understanding.  They often bring to the surface, unexplored feelings I never even knew I had. Whether I finish someone’s story feeling inspired, sad, horrified or utterly joyous, I am one step closer to understanding the human spirit. 

I recently read Dr. Michele Harper’s medical memoir, The Beauty in Breaking.  Dr. Harper is an African American, Harvard-educated ER doctor.  Mr. Hemingway… you could have easily swapped stories with this woman.  Like Dr. Harper,  I am sure you saw your share of emergencies while driving an ambulance for the American Red Cross in Italy during the first World War.  You even experienced your own traumas when you were hit with a mortar shell (I hear you even saved a piece of the shrapnel) and survived two consecutive plane crashes.  To say you cheated death a few times is an understatement.  From the war torn battlefields in the 1900s to the modern day ER battlefields, you and Dr. Harper could probably chit-chat all night long. I have digressed…once again. Lets get on with it.

In her memoir, Dr. Harper does a wonderful job weaving together her abusive childhood and past relationships with the wide variety of patients she has treated in the ER.   Her experience working as a physician in a hospital as a Black woman and the ethical boundaries that are pushed in such an intense setting was extremely eye opening.    Dr. Harper also brings to light the racism and sexism she experienced and witnessed in her career and reveals the flaws that exist in our healthcare systems today.  

What I truly loved about Dr. Harper’s memoir was how her encounters with patients helped her with understanding her own trauma and relationships.  At times,  I felt like I was in the middle of a Medical TV Drama. The intensity of waiting for your next patient to come crashing through the hospital door, to the painstakingly devastating outcomes that are often endured, Dr. Harper’s medical details are not for the faint hearted.  However, what her book offers that most medical dramas lack, is the human connection to her patients.  Day in and day out, Dr, Harper worked on healing her patients.  It was through this process of remedying and restoring health in others that she truly began to heal herself.   I love how she incorporates her yoga practice into her medical practice.  Like medicine, she believes that yoga too, needs to be practiced everyday for optimal gains. Through the patients she comes in contact with everyday and her selfcare journey, she taps into the value of truth and happiness.  Her writing is intellectual, thought provoking and filled with compassion. I am thrilled to have Dr. Harper’s book on my bookshelf.  

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. I not only enjoyed reading this book, but I also enjoyed the audio version as well. If you are an audio book enthusiast, check out for all your listening needs. Your purchases support your local bookstore of choice 🤗🤗🤗.

Click on the book pic to purchase.

Cover of The Beauty in Breaking

I Believe In You

Red at the Bone book cover

Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

(Riverhead Books)

November 7, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

A book doesn’t need to be long to tell a full story. Sometimes the greatest things come in the smallest packages. I just recently read, Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson’s story revolves around a teen couple’s unplanned pregnancy and how it impacts three generations of their African American families. Don’t be fooled by the length of this book. This well-crafted story may take you less than 24 hours to read, but it will stay with you for days to come.

Woodson’s story opens up in 2001 with Melody celebrating her 16th birthday at her coming of age ceremony.  As her parents and grandparents watch her walk down the stairs, memories of the past begin to surface. How Melody got to this moment in time is slowly revealed through the alternating narratives and timelines of the different characters in the book. Readers will get an intimate look at the lives of Melody’s parents’ (Iris and Aubrey) and grandparents’ (Sabe and Sammy Po’Boy).  It is their recollection of the past that helps to tell this story.

Let me just dive in here.  Woodson’s story is not as straightforward as it appears.  Parenthood, race, poverty, class and ambition are just a few of the issues that help this story take flight.  Watching Iris and Aubrey navigate how to raise their daughter made my heart ache. I struggled watching Iris’ journey. I could discern where her drive and need for self-discovery came from, but was awestruck by her lack of maternal genes. Her complexity completely enriched the story for me. On the flip side, I loved Aubrey’s simple take on life and his unconditional love for his daughter. As a parent, I found the grandparents’ point of view to be completely heartfelt (hello tears) and one that I could relate to the most. This is why multigenerational family dramas work for me. Layers and layers of time and experience are what create an emotionally charged story.  Each generation builds upon the last. The good, the bad and the ugly pile up from generation to generation giving readers complex characters to unscramble.

Red At The Bone had me really thinking about the impact everyday decisions have on the people around us.  Is there a price to pay for being ambitious? We make decisions everyday, often times not understanding our past or where we really came from.  Does our past define us or is it merely a piece to our unfinished puzzle? As parents, we want our kids to have a good life. It’s inevitable that our children will encounter struggles in their lifetime. However, knowing this and being prepared for this is not one in the same.  So much to ponder with this book.

Red At The Bone is an extraordinary story.  Because there is so much to unpack from this tiny package, it makes for a tremendous book club pick.  Enjoy this powerful book. I am off to read more by this wonderful author.

Write to you next week Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  What books have YOU read by Jacqueline Woodson?

Click Here To Purchase Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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