Between Two Kingdoms - Suleika Jaouad

Between Two Kingdoms

By Suleika Jaouad

  • Release Date: 2021-02-09
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 855 Ratings


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission to re-entry into “normal” life—from the founder of The Isolation Journals and a subject of the Netflix documentary American Symphony

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Rumpus, She Reads, Library Journal, Booklist

“I was immersed for the whole ride and would follow Jaouad anywhere. . . . Her writing restores the moon, lights the way as we learn to endure the unknown.”—Chanel Miller, The New York Times Book Review

“Beautifully crafted . . . affecting . . . a transformative read . . . Jaouad’s insights about the self, connectedness, uncertainty and time speak to all of us.”—The Washington Post

In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter “the real world.” She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent. The real world she found, however, would take her into a very different kind of conflict zone.

It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Next came the exhaustion, and the six-hour naps that only deepened her fatigue. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. Just like that, the life she had imagined for herself had gone up in flames. By the time Jaouad flew home to New York, she had lost her job, her apartment, and her independence. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times.

When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after countless rounds of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. But as she would soon learn, a cure is not where the work of healing ends; it’s where it begins. She had spent the past 1,500 days in desperate pursuit of one goal—to survive. And now that she’d done so, she realized that she had no idea how to live.

How would she reenter the world and live again? How could she reclaim what had been lost? Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. She set out to meet some of the strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital: a teenage girl in Florida also recovering from cancer; a teacher in California grieving the death of her son; a death-row inmate in Texas who’d spent his own years confined to a room. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives. Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender, and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.


  • Loved it.

    By gdelac28
  • Fav read of 23

    By jgoes13
    Emotional read that I couldn’t put down.
  • Simply beautiful.

    By Kpsanfrancisco
    Just an amazing book.
  • Couldn’t put it down……

    By DML7117
    I did not know what this book was about. Had I known I may not have read it, but I’m so glad I did. It is beautifully written and really makes you consider your own life. Thanks to Nate Berkus for the recommendation! It was so well worth the read.
  • A moving story.

    By DCMMD
    Stunningly beautiful. Eye opening, sensitive, sad, real, humorous and heart breaking at the same time. Uplifting and hopeful all along, a captivating read.
  • Truly Amazing

    By playingforpizza
    This book was the most moving novel I have ever read in my life. Truly amazing. An incredible masterpiece.
  • Amazing

    By parford
    Best book I’ve read since Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’. Profound, captivating, just excellent. I couldn’t put it down.
  • Moving

    By Mrs cpee
    A book to be read and re-read and cherished. Thank you, Suleika for sharing this journey.
  • Lovely

    By hshafique
    Riveting book about a girl with cancer who takes a journey and makes a new life for herself. Loved it.
  • Masterpiece

    By bluestraveler11
    Beautiful and captivating. A must read for all!