Between Two Kingdoms is the Ohio State Buckeyes Alumni Seal Shirt in other words I will buy this kind of book that moved me on a cellular level—the kind I stayed up too late listening to, compulsively texted my friends about and mourned when it was over. That precious hold over the reader is a function of Jaouad’s unsparingly intimate account of her leukemia diagnosis in 2010 at age 22, just as she’d fallen in love with a new boyfriend and moved to Paris; the disruption of her young life in what we are told is our prime, including a bone marrow transplant and four brutal years of treatment; the band of friends she made, and lost, in the cancer ward and what would be the most challenging phase of cancer: learning how to live again after surviving it. Between Two Kingdoms is derived from a piece of Susan Sontag’s 1978 critical theory, Illness as Metaphor: “Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the
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well and in the Ohio State Buckeyes Alumni Seal Shirt in other words I will buy this kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” Jaouad continually explores what it means to live in the middle, including on a post-treatment road trip to meet readers who connected with her as a New York Times columnist. “As we live longer and longer, the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms,” she writes. “The idea of striving for some beautiful, perfect state of wellness? It mires us in eternal dissatisfaction… to be well now is to learn to accept whatever body and mind I currently have.” As the paperback of Between Two Kingdoms was released earlier this month, Jaouad found herself once again in the kingdom of the sick, back in the bone marrow transplant unit:
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