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
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Death, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Unwinding of the Miracle

  • Bkwmlee
    A few of my library holds came in recently so I am taking a much-needed break from the ARCs I’ve been working through in the hopes that I am able to finish the books before they are due back to the library. One book that I’ve been wanting to read since I heard of its publication earlier in the year is Julie Yip-Williams’s posthumously published memoir The Unwinding of the Miracle . Julie died a year ago, in March 2018, succumbing to metast...
  • 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...
  • Dianne
    Julie Yip-Williams was diagnosed with Stage VI colon cancer in 2013 at the age of 37. Her memoir has been crafted from a series of blog entries she wrote to chronicle her life, both for herself and for her young daughters who would survive her when she died five years later.Julie’s life was remarkable in many ways. Born blind to Chinese parents in South Vietnam in 1976, Julie’s paternal grandmother ordered her mother to take Julie to an herba...
  • 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...
  • Connie
    Julie Yip-William's early life involved a series of miracles. She was born in Vietnam with congenital cataracts causing blindness, and the surgeons had fled the country at the end of the Vietnam War. Her grandmother wanted the disabled girl to be given a lethal poison, but the herbalist refused. Then her family escaped to Hong Kong on an overloaded, leaky boat. They eventually came to the United States where she had surgery on her eyes. She was s...
  • 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...
  • 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, ...
  • Ericka Clouther
    I lost both of my parents to cancer, my dad when he was 61 and I was 31, and my mom when she was 60 and I was 38. Since losing my dad I’ve read a lot, including a number of these end of life books. The good ones come from people who either gave thought to how to live life before being diagnosed or read a lot of literature throughout their life. The worst are a hodgepodge of memoir and random “deep” thoughts with no organizing theme. In this...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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 ...
  • Mara
    As you might expect from a book compiled from blog posts, written by someone grappling with her life and death, Yip-William's writing in this book vacillates all over the place. Certain passages are beautiful and inspiring, achieving her stated purpose of conveying the insights that she hopes may assist others (cancer patients, yes, but also anyone suffering) in knowing they are not alone. Other passages, however, are bitter and devoid of empathy...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Patricia
    I love the title of this book - the author helps us appreciate the miracles of our own lives more fully as her life is winding down. She wrote compellingly and honestly about her years of fighting cancer. I have to admit I was crying through the last chapters. I really appreciate her hard won insights. I am grateful that her light will live on through her family and her words.
  • Belle
    One of those books that I opened to read the book flap and never closed until the last page. A lesson on dying truthfully. Really although said too many times by me, no one should leave this book unread. It’s a manual on how to die gracefully and truthfully. I only wish I could be a part of Julie’s life. She would have been such an awesome friend.
  • Patricia
    At times it grew difficult to get through Julie Yip-Williams' honest (and occasionally repetitive) account of her life with and without cancer. Depending on my mood, I could have given this book much fewer stars. I decided that I appreciated the candor and, in the end, decided that I will often reflect on her commentary as a I move through my own life, which marks it a good book.One comment, not necessarily a negative about this book, Julie Yip-W...
  • 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...
  • Linda
    Read with Jenna April book. Get your tissues! This isn’t an easy read, but a beautiful read. I know it took courage for Julie Yip-Williams to be so vulnerable in her journey with colon cancer. We’re all going to die, this book is about living life in spite of cancer. A book about love and family. It’s hard to put down.
  • Robin
    It may sound weird, but I enjoyed this book. This is a collection of blog post reflecting the authors journey and preparation for her death from colon cancer. Her strength and openness inspired me.
  • 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...
  • 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...