the long tale of tears and smiles

The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles – Memoir Review

Thank you so much to author Rana Bitar for providing me with a copy of The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles in exchange for this honest review.

Memoirs are one of my most read genres. I love reading someone’s story and learning from their experiences. Sometimes, these experiences more closely resemble my own and sometimes they show me a whole new perspective on life. The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles is told by a woman whose life in no way resembles my own but she parallels her experience with such down to earth struggles that everyone will see themselves in at least one chapter.

Rana Bitar is a Syrian American oncologist who helps patients through their cancer journeys with more empathy than I’ve ever been fortunate enough to experience in American medicine. She describes her life growing up in Syria, starting medical school, and becoming a doctor all while simultaneously learning English while also telling the stories of many of her patients and how they affected her at the time.

As many middle eastern women can likely attest, she was brought into the world as a disappointment. Her parents, of course, wanted a boy and not another girl. But thanks to her father’s library she grew up reading and expanding her mind and curiosity. Becoming a doctor and working with the human body was the path she knew she must take from the start. It would not be an easy challenge, it never is, but she succeeds and never loses sight of the reasons why she set out on this path to begin with. And don’t worry, her parents were darned proud of her the whole time.

Everyone leaves their own impression on the world, Bitar recognizes the importance that any individual can have and gives them a voice. Her selflessness lead to the first draft of The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles to be only about her patients throughout the years. But her story is definitely worth reading as well. Intertwining them makes perfect sense, no one exists in a vacuum.

Bitar writes beautifully with prose that fully demonstrates her mastery of English. After being a successful doctor for many years she decided to get a Masters degree in her spare time and has used that to write her amazing nonfiction book. Reading this book is both inspiring and incredibly humbling. Seriously, what oncologist even has spare time? Let alone one who is also an attentive mother!

I strongly recommend The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles to everyone. The stories within this memoir will give you every emotion from sadness to joy as well as inspire and uplift even the most cynical among us.

5/5 doctors πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ

For another nonfiction book by a woman in medicine check out The Body Blog.

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