11 November 2020 | By: Writing Buddha

Between Life and Death by Dr Kashyap Patel (Book Review: 4.25*/5)

 1887th BLOG POST

42nd Book of 2020!

Any book that talks about life and death intrigues me because I believe knowing about these elements is far more necessary to live a great curious life than knowing about current affairs. And this is the reason I got attracted towards the newly released book named “Between Life and Death” written by Dr. Kashyap Patel. The book is of around 220 pages and is published by Penguin Random House. The book’s cover page and synopsis have such a good feeling that you just can’t move over without having this book in your shelf.


Now, talking about the book and its subject, it is based upon the emotions a human being goes through when he comes to know that his death is near. Author has been a doctor himself who has treated many Cancer patients and has ended up experiencing many deaths in his life closely. This gave him the perspective which he couldn’t have achieved if he would not have been in his profession for years and seeing so many souls leaving their temporary bodies. Kashyap has just utilized the same and mentioned how sensitive the patients become when they find death standing close to them.


The book starts with one of the doctor’s patient, Harry, who realizes that he might not live much due to the spread of Cancer and he asks the Doctor to prepare him to leave blissfully. And from here begins the book which takes you through many experiences the doctor had starting with a young patient like Annie till the last patient covered named John. Reading about all these patients is such an emotional experience that in few of the chapters I was almost on the verge of crying. The vulnerability that a human being starts feeling along with a panicky situation with a will to still live makes them so weak and demotivated that they start seeing their Doctor as God, Life Coach, Role Model and what not. The relationship between a Doctor and Patient is so very beautifully covered in this book.


Apart from these experiences, author also covers many other knowledge about things associated with death such as the belief different religion and culture has about death. Author has descriptively tried to explain all of it without comparing them with each other. Patel also gives disclaimer when he talks about other religions citing that he might be wrong as he has limited knowledge about it as whatever he knows is only through his patients. How Death and its rituals were given duly importance in history is explained by letting us know about the Egyptian concept of mummification. How embalming became a business scope in America after Civil wars for the purpose of funeral is nicely described.


Then from the knowledge base, book gradually moves into the space of spirituality and I liked how author mentioned about Western culture finding the truth outwards whereas Eastern culture looking for the same inwards and the results turned out to be the same. The concept of meditation is given a light upon and author explains how it can lead to longevity as it actually does same structural changes with our organs. Along with this, author again explains what different religion and culture thinks upon the topic of resurrection, reincarnation and afterlife. It has so much information that you would be surprised to know such detailing. I had read Sadhguru’s Death few months ago where it covered only one practice but here author has talked about different rituals and beliefs which provides little more insights.


Talking about the climax of the book, the way Harry leaves us being the protagonist of the book will make you very sad. After reading this book, if you have never taken Cancer patient or any person who is aware of his death seriously, you will start taking so. You will become a big support for them. The kind of attitudinal change the author brings is phenomenal. You will also start seeing Death as just a part of your life rather than an end to it. Yes, this happens.


Now talking about the drawbacks- I actually couldn’t find much problem with the book as it only speaks what happens with us. But still I would like to point out few factors. I believe there was more potential for the author to cover when it came to a topic like this. Author could have gone into more spiritual depth in the later part of the book for which I was really looking forward to which I missed. Then, I believe author should have given more brief examples dedicating just one or two paragraphs to a patient and letting us know how many people decided to leave as here, we get to know about 3-4 patients specifically. Some photographs of the patients discussed would have added more personalized effect to the book.


Overall, this is a very feel-good book with great insights. I give this book 4.25* out of 5. Please do read it if you want to know what people go through after knowing that the death is closer.






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