Review: Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon

Good morning my loves!

Today is my first post with me attempting to get back in to the swing of things blogging wise, so I thought I’d start of with something that I really enjoy doing – writing reviews for books that I absolutely loved. Today’s review is Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon. Now you may know Joanna Cannon from the brilliant fiction she’s written including The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie. With Breaking and Mending however, we get to see a side of Joanna that I didn’t know existed.

Title: Breaking and Mending: A doctor’s story of burnout and recovery
Author: Joanna Cannon
Publication date: 26th September 2019
My rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.39
Pages: 160
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains, listening to the rest of the hospital happen around me, and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat, from the acceptance of a failure I assumed would be inevitable, but I knew I had to carry on. I had to somehow walk through it.

Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

A frank account of mental health from both sides of the doctor-patient divide, from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie, based on her own experience as a doctor working on a psychiatric ward.


My thoughts:

There has been a trend in the last couple of years of medical professionals writing memoirs. For someone that is keenly interested in medicine and memoirs, you can imagine how much I have been enjoying this trend. Some of my favourites have included books by Henry Marsh, Allan Ropper, Adam Kay, Richard Shepherd, Sue Black and so many more. However, Breaking and Mending might just be my very favourite of them all.

I powered through the small but mighty book in just one sitting and the feeling that it left me with is something that I’ve struggled to articulate since then. Often shoving *metaphorically* the book in people faces and just bellowing incoherently for them to read it.

This is the story of Joanna’s time as junior doctor, after starting off her career in her thirties and being labelled the ‘wild card’ of her year group, with the intention of working in psychiatry. It is so evident that Joanna is a deeply caring human being and could not be more suited to a role in a caring profession, and I cannot describe how completely heart-breaking it was to hear her story of her burnout.

If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a weeper. With Breaking and Mending, I sobbed throughout. Every chapter is filled with a brutal honesty yet manages to full the reader with hope, something in my opinion is incredibly difficult to do.

Definitely a book that I will head back to time and time again. Utterly exquisite. Please read this book.


Peace and pages


Buy this book:
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