The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams

The Unwinding of the Miracle

As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more--a powerful exhortation to the living.That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country ...

Details The Unwinding of the Miracle

TitleThe Unwinding of the Miracle
Release DateJan 8th, 2019
PublisherRandom House
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Unwinding of the Miracle

  • erica
    In the vein of Until I Say Goodbye: A Book about Living, When Breath Becomes Air, and The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, The Unwinding of the Miracle is an incredibly personal memoir about death and dying but that is ultimately, triumphantly, about life and living.This isn't one of those books targeted at cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families. This is a book with a powerful message for everyone: life can be terribly un...
  • Louise Wilson
    Julie Yip-Williams was just thirty seven years old when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Married, with two young daughters and with a career in law, she spent five years coming to terms and knowing that eventually her illness would lead to her death. Yes, its the circle of life that we all revolve around, but no one expects or wants to die that young! Julie's parents lived in Communist Vietnam. When Julie was born, she had cataracts and her g...
  • Stephanie Borders
    Julie Yip-Williams was only 37 when she was diagnosed with the colon cancer that would eventually kill her. Married, with a burgeoning law career and two young daughters, Yip-Williams spent the next five years coming to terms with what death means. Her goal was to embrace the inevitable. She knew her disease would kill her, sooner rather than later. She was heartsick at the thought of leaving her two young daughters motherless. At the same time, ...
  • Val Robson
    Julie Yip-Williams has a very interesting story to tell in the 37 years before her colon cancer diagnosis in 2013 but this story is rarely mentioned as the book concentrates on the tests, treatments, clinical trials, pain and side effects she’s endured from diagnosis to her death in 2018. She lists all the different cancer drugs she’s had or considered with a lot of detail about the results of ongoing blood tests, MRI, PET, CAT scans, CEA lev...
  • Rebecca
    A lawyer facing late-stage cancer reflects on the happy life she had despite a disability and an inauspicious start, and bids farewell to her family. It was miracle enough to have survived her first few years (blindness, a euthanasia attempt, and fleeing Vietnam by boat), but she eventually graduated from Harvard Law School and joined a Wall Street law firm. The author dubs herself “a somewhat ruthless realist.” Early on she vowed she would d...
  • Liz
    Heartbreaking doesn't begin to describe the emotional territory navigated in this memoir of the life, illness and death of a vibrant young mother stricken with metastatic colon cancer at the age of 37. The miracle of the title refers to the author's survival and good fortune against all odds, as a baby born blind in Vietnam in the late 1970s, a country impoverished and in disarray. Escape to America, topnotch medical attention, and an Ivy League ...
  • Candice Lee
    I feel bad writing this review as I don’t wish to speak I’ll of the dead, but this memoir was painful for me to get through. While I can appreciate the value it holds for individuals in similar situations, and I’m sure it’s a wonderful gift for her daughters to remember her by, I was bored to tears with the constant statistics, test results and cliches.
  • Kirsten
    Julie was a friend of a friend; I never met her.This is dark and intense. I had to read it in little chunks, so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. I especially liked her attacks on what she called the “hope industrial complex.” I so admire her honesty, even when it gets dark and brutal. She must have been really amazing.
  • Susan Hampson
    The story opens with a harrowing statement from Julie Yip-Williams and I was in tears, something that would continue to happen throughout this book. Each chapter an honest account of 5 years of her life and how her moods changed, her hopes and fears for her family and preparing her husband and little girls for the times she wouldn't be around anymore. Within a couple of weeks of Julie Yip-Williams being born the chances of her living a healthy, h...
  • Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsMy Mum died from lung cancer in 2013. The first we knew that she had the disease was the diagnosis of a brain tumour about a year and a half before. Mum was a keen reader, which is no doubt where I get my bookworm tendencies from, and the particular cruelty of her cancer was that it destroyed her language capability early on. Mum could imagine what she wanted to say to us, but the words she sp...
  • Kristen
    There is so much to admire in this book. It is incredibly well-written and honest. That said- while other books in this genre (a genre I like to call “women my age with children my children’s age who die”) are inspirational, this one is more realistic. And I cannot express how much it resonated with me. Yip- Williams’ anger, resentment, general disbelief felt so understandable. At times she was absolutely unpleasant. And, I mean, OBVIOUSL...
  • Books on Stereo
    The Unwinding of the Miracle is, simply, a beautiful mess. Yip Williams unwinds and rewinds her life experiences as a way to comes to terms with her life and subsequent death. It is repetitive and at times grating, however recollecting and reconciling one's life in the facce of death isn't narratively perfect; it's messy. A brilliant, fierce exploration of the value/meaning of life in the face of death.
  • dori
    Thank you, Netgalley, for the opportunity to read this book in exhange for an honest review. Given the subject matter, I feel terrible even writing this review - they say one should never speak unkindly of the dead. That's not what I wish to do here, anyway - I simply want to warn the living.Unless you are greatly helped by reading any and all cancer memoirs, you can skip this one. My eyes were glazed over by the prologue. I stuck it out into cha...
  • Ashlee Bree
    Compelling, stark, devastating, and brutally yet altogether poignantly honest. Those are the first words that spring to mind as I endeavor to describe how it felt to read Julie Yip-Williams chronicle her journey with Stage IV metastatic colon cancer because there was no evasion here. No feigned or reticent anything. She shuffled no platitudes in the face of confronting this deadly disease any more than she shied away from underlining her inauspic...
  • Kathy
    The Unwinding of a Miracle is a very open review of the author's life, both prior to her cancer diagnosis and the time after. To anyone given such a diagnosis, kudos to you for withstanding the devastating blow and pulling yourself together to fight for your life while trying to live it the best you can!Julie Yip-Williams received her diagnosis of stage-4 colon cancer while in her mid-30's with two young children. Putting pen to paper to tell her...
  • Lee Husemann
    Julie Yip-Williams was a 37-year-old with a successful career as a lawyer, married and the mother of two small daughters when she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. She was born in View Nam to Chinese parents after the war ended. She was born with congenital cataracts and her grandmother wanted the parents to take her to an herbalist for something to make her go to sleep permanently. Luckily, the herbalist said no. They escaped by boat and...
  • Shannon Wise
    Julie Yip-Williams should not have been alive at age 37, when she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. She was born to Chinese parents in Viet Nam, right after the end of the war. She had cataracts that could not be surgically corrected in Viet Nam. Her paternal grandmother sent her parents to Da Nag, to a medicine man, to have Julie killed. The medicine man refused to do it. She ended up immigrating to the United States, where her vision wa...
  • Sharyn
    I don't like not finishing books, especially those I have received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. But this book has triggers for me and I am finding it a very upsetting read. Also I dislike the facts and stats, the nasty name given to the poor person who might become the second wife and step mother to her children. It may be a cultural thing bearing in mind the attitude of her grandmother to her as a tiny baby but I can't read an...
  • Annabel Pizzata
    This book reminded me a lot of When Breath Becomes Air, which is unsurprising given they are both written by authors with terminal cancer diagnoses and published posthumously. What is surprising is how i failed to connect with this book when i did with When Breath Becomes Air. By all accounts, i should have, given the author and i both have law degrees, and two young daughters. I think perhaps i would have connected more had a heavier hand been a...
  • Christine
    Dear Julie, You don’t know me, but I finished reading your book late last night. You’ve been dead for eleven months. I wonder how you are, if you’ve reached the afterlife you so strongly believe in despite your lack of religiosity.I was reluctant to pick up your book. A posthumously published memoir by a 42-year-old woman with Stage IV colorectal cancer? Excuse me while I run in the opposite direction. I read one other cancer memoir that di...
  • Diana
    This is a wonderful book. I was suspicious of it at first. I was worried it was going to be a compilation of recycled blog posts, and maybe it was but ultimately I didn’t care. In fact, it’s good that it was because we join her on her journey. I have little or no patience for repetition in books but here it serves a purpose. She is dying and trying to make sense of it, if sense can be made. We join her on her sometimes stream of consciousness...
  • Kathy
    I won an ebook from Goodreads, this did not influence my review.Three and a half stars.Yip-William's memoir is a personal account of the last four years of her life facing a terminal diagnosis due to metastatic colorectal cancer. The book is organized chronologically and at first this distracted me as Yip-Williams often diverges from the present tense to share stories of her early life or to ponder existential questions. As I read further, this b...
  • Stephen Yoder
    I don't weep all the time for books but this one got me. Julie was a lovable character, especially because of her relentless honesty. She reminds me a bit of CZ, a friend of mine who died a few years ago of cancer. I think they would have gotten along well.I enjoyed the emotional paths of many of these chapters, especially the one where she mentioned that she hated everyone. Life isn't fair and it is okay to hate here & there.Julie had an amazing...
  • Libby
    A beautifully written, gut-wrenching account of a woman who has accomplished amazing feats, physically, emotionally and intellectually, only to be stopped in her tracks by the realization that she has stage four metastatic cancer. The book is written in the first person, and the brutal honesty of what the author experiences through her journey is often overwhelming in the best of ways. The love for her young daughters, her husband, her family, sh...
  • Kathleen Gray
    This is almost too sad- but also too loving- to review. Julie Yip-Williams should not have gotten colon cancer, no she should not have. This woman overcame so much in her life and then was hit with this diagnosis even as she was in a good place with her young family. This is unflinching but it's also thoughtful. There's no poor me here, only clear desire to grow old with her family. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's a very good and also humbl...
  • Jennifer
    I started reading this book with the understanding that it would be published after the author died, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey the book took me on. As I read, I experienced wave after wave of emotions, including sadness, joy, surprise, and frustration. And I confess, I laughed and cried while reading this heartwarming and heartbreaking story. In it, Julie Yip-Williams offers a balanced, well-rounded view of her experience ...
  • Colleen Olinger
    I'm not sure how to talk about this book. It was hard to read, but such an incredible story. Honest, devastating, & courageous are just a few final thoughts of this book, and of Julie. She sounds like she was a remarkable person. This book will positively impact cancer fighters and their families for generations, by giving them permission to have a voice in the way their disease is fought.
  • Nima Morgan
    My heart aches.
  • Valerie
    I didn't like this book. I didn't find the story particularly inspiring, touching, or good. Perhaps it was truthful. But I found it tiresome. It did't feel truthful to me.