The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper


The New York Times Bestseller

In this “riveting, heartbreaking” (The New York Times) memoir, an emergency room physician examines how healing others teaches her how to heal herself.

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Michele Harper is a female, Black emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until just before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began a new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.

As Harper learned to be an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

The Beauty in Breaking is the compelling true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients she writes about teaches her something important about recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain both their health and their dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing each of us to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.

The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper
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