Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion & Burnout by Joanna Cannon


Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion & Burnout by Joanna Cannon



 had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat… but I knew I had to carry on.

Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

In this powerful memoir, Joanna Cannon tells her story as a junior doctor in visceral, heart-rending snapshots.

We walk with her through the wards, facing extraordinary and daunting moments: from attending her first post-mortem, sitting with a patient through their final moments, to learning the power of a well- or badly chosen word. These moments, and the small sustaining acts of kindness and connection that punctuate hospital life, teach her that emotional care and mental health can be just as critical as restoring a heartbeat.
In a profession where weakness remains a taboo, this moving, beautifully written book brings to life the vivid, human stories of doctors and patients – and shows us why we need to take better care of those who care for us.


My Review:

Many will know of Joanna Cannon the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things about Elsie but before Joanna became an author she graduated from medical school and became a hospital doctor before specialising in psychiatry. Now Joanna Cannon has penned a powerful memoir Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion & Burnout about her time working on the wards.


What Joanna Cannon has created here is a window into her own world back in the days when she graduated and suddenly everything became real. From attending seminars an and all the studying now suddenly Joanna was faced with pressures of being a junior doctor and seeing real patients with real medical problems, all of them want to be seen and made well. Then there is attending the first post-mortem. We have all been patients in one form or another but many of us would run a mile at the thought of becoming a junior doctor and the sheer pressure of just the job title would be enough to frighten many of us. It takes a very special person to hear the calling of wanting to go through all the training and studying to become a junior doctor and then enter the NHS that is creaking under so much pressure and cut-backs.

I have only met Joanna Cannon once but I have known Joanna on Social Media since before her first novel was released. There are some people who a just destined in their lives to help others and Joanna is that person. Her compassion for her fellow man has been clear since those early days and a heart that cries out to help others. When I was reading Breaking & Mending I was so moved by her own story of being a junior doctor and at times moved me to tears.

When we are broken in one way or another we enter hospital to be mended and we see nurses and doctors constantly under pressure. When a junior doctor or anyone else working in medicine is broken who is there for them? That is a question many of us will have asked ourselves when we have been in hospital but never see. They are human just like we are and they break but in a way that we may never see or hear. But reading Joanna’s powerful memoir those stories are here contained on each page. Those that work in medicine deserve our respect and also our understanding.

The stories that Joanna shares with us are incredibly emotional and at times utterly heart-breaking. Yet this is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt books I have read this year. I am so very grateful for being given the chance have read Breaking & Mending and is a book I would recommend to everyone.

I have held back this review as Joanna Cannon is appearing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Monday 7th October at 6.30pm.

There are just a few tickets remaining at the time of writing this. For more details: Please visit:   Cheltenham Literature Festival 07.10.2019 Event

#BreakingandMeding @JoannaCannon

@ProfileBooks #ExploreWellcome

176 Pages

My thanks to Profile Books for the review copy of Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion & Burnout by Joanna Cannon.

Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories of Compassion & Burnout by Joanna Cannon was published by Profile Books (Wellcome Collection) and was published on 26th September 2019 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Meet Shaun Bythell, the owner of Scotland’s largest second- hand bookshop called ‘The Bookshop’ and is located in Wigtown which is in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland and is also home to the Wigtown Book Festival which runs from 22nd September to 1st October this year. In Shaun’s bookshop he has a few books in fact over 100,000 books. This must be the closest thing to book heaven you can get. Shaun has been keeping a diary since taking over Wigtown bookshop and The Diary of a Bookseller is an extremely funny and humorous look at life running a large bookshop.


Someone once said to me that second-hand bookshops are were books go to die. I completely disagree with that comment and when you read The Diary of a Bookseller you will come to see what joy Shaun brings to his work. There are some very funny stories from his diary of customers and his staff and not to mention the bookshop cat. Shaun’s witty diary entries are a joy to read as he goes about running his bookshop. On the miles of bookshelves there are books on every subject, it would be hard to think that anyone would dare say they cannot find anything to read, so you would think. Then there is his assistant Nicky who just leads an interesting life. Each time I visit my local Morrisons store I will think of Nicky. You have to read to understand this.

Then there are the trials and tribulations of running a bookshop let alone a second-hand bookshop. That word ‘Amazon’ keeps cropping up. Over the last few years we have seen digital books taking a slice of the market so Shaun has had to cope with the ever changing reading habits of the buying public. There is nothing better than holding a ‘real’ book in your hands books are meant to be held and read from page to page not switched on or off. Just don’t mention eBooks to Shaun Bythell. Some of us have seen the clip of him taking his shotgun to an eReader.

If you have read and enjoyed The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell then you will love The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. Just makes me want to work I a bookshop and sell books all day. It is written by a man who clearly has a passion for books and selling books. It is an ode to second-hand bookshops everywhere. I just loved this wonderful book. Now what did I do with that Kindle?

For more information on the Wigtown Book Festival 2017 visit: Wigtown Book Festival 2017 and a link to The Wigtown Bookshop:  The Bookshop

320 Pages.

Thank you to Profile Books for the advanced review copy of The Diary of a Bookseller.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell is published by Profile Books and is published on 28th September 2018 and will be available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.