Just finished reading the book “The Emperor of All Maladies” by Siddharth Mukherjee. It won the Pulitzer Prize for 2010. The book is a simple yet poignant biographic detail about the history of cancer, its treatment and the struggles attached with it.
The reason I picked up this book were purely personal. I as a rule avoid doctors and far so much going to a doc will be my last resort. The reason being that I grew up with doctors in the family and having a grandpa who is an over zealous hypochondriac! Hence this aversion to be anywhere near medical profession and the professionals.
But then life took some turns and we as a family had to deal with the Big C! So picked up this book to understand more about it. Initially it was a difficult read with all the medical terms, research data, names of the proteins and the enzymes but slowly you begin to grow with it.
The book in my opinion is not a biography of anyone or anything. Its a very well researched book with simple anecdotes, real life experiences and also gives a window into the lives of people who are impacted with it. It kind of stretches a bit into the politics, in-fighting and the personal whims of the doctors involved in the research and cure of cancer. Where it scores is however the personalization of it all.
As a member of the close circle of family that has got impacted, I related to some of the dilemma, fear and the angst of some of the characters. It doesnt however enlighten me any which way whats the way forward, how things are working towards curing the disease in future or even how medicines are progressing now. Its a statistical book with a lot of data but manages to transfix literature (Lewis Caroll to Sherlock Holmes and so on) with the journey.
It was a heavy read and by the end of it, I feel more educated on how it all started, enzymes and proteins, the history of the tobacco war and the lobbies but Im still waiting for the book that will show us what could be the future of cure or if there will be cure at all….there is hope and there will be remission forever!
Amen to that……