Tuesday, September 9, 2014

cutting for stone

Oh me oh my. I am still recovering from this book. I finished it last night and Preston found me in the living room tear stained face and hysterical. I'm calling it early, but this has been my favorite book of 2014. If you are in any sort of medical field, have a fascination with the human body and/or like beautiful, heart-wrenching stories, this is for you. 

I came across this book as a recommendation from one of my favorite bloggers. She also suggested Marching Powder by Rusty Young, which I read this summer and thoroughly enjoyed. Cutting for Stone is the story of two identical twins, Shiva and Marion Stone who live in Africa and grow up under the care of their adoptive parents after their mother, an Indian nun, dies in childbirth and their father, a brilliant British surgeon abandons them. Their parents are both surgeons at the Missing Hospital in Ethiopia. It tells of their lives from in the womb until they are adults, and how they both study and practice medicine and the different places it takes them and despite separation and betrayal, their lives remain intertwined and forever connected. 

My favorite part about this book is also what makes me hesitant to recommend it to everyone. Abraham Verghese is a doctor and goes into explicit detail about the many different surgeries and maladies that go on in the hospital. He describes the different steps and uses anatomical terms in his surgery descriptions. I loved these passages, but I could see a few of them making people squeamish. It made the book that much more authentic to me, but if you're not into that kind of thing, you might find yourself skimming through some pages. However, Cutting for Stone is so much more than an anatomy textbook. The story itself is incredible and you become very attached to the characters. It deals with topics of faith and destiny and includes historical aspects like the Italian occupation of Ethiopia and the Italian-Ethiopian conflict. And of course there is love. So much love. I'm a very emotional person, but even the coldest of hearts will thaw a little after reading this story. I was in tears at the end over the beauty of Shiva and Marion's story, the wonders of modern medicine and how precious life is. I was even bold enough to proclaim it my new favorite book, which is a title I give very carefully and rarely. I'm honestly having trouble starting a new book because I can't get over this one. 

"The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not."

If any of this sounds appealing, please read this book so I can talk to you about it. I am bursting with emotion and my husband can only handle so much of my hysteria. And much love to my peeps saving lives whether you're a doctor, nurse, med student, therapist whatever. You make the world turn.


  1. oh no this whole description. game over.

  2. Stopped at the birth story. Too much pain, suffering, and sadness. That's my job, I don't want to read about it. I do agree about the prose however. But the story was too much for me. Got any princess books?