5 stars for The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles: An Oncologist's Journey by @RanaBitarBooks #audiobook
Title: The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles: An Oncologist's Journey
Author: Rana Bitar
Narrator: Enana Bitar
Genre: Memoir, Medical Memoir, Nonfiction
The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles explores an immigrant oncologist’s journey of triumphs and struggles, from growing up in Syria, to the tragic death of her brother, to her experiences as a young immigrant medical student and trainee in the USA. Walk through her anguish witnessing the civil war in Syria and its devastation; see her become a practitioner, watching the field of oncology evolves throughout the years.
This narrative-driven case study interweaves the stories of the patients Bitar has cared for with her own life stories; it reflects on how her patients’ lives and the stories of their survival or death inspired and changed her life starting and raising a family. Each patient’s approach to illness and end-of-life is as unique as they are, and each person’s journey contains unexpected lessons.
In the space between life and death, Bitar’s profession thrives; and in that space, she can search for the meaning of her existence.
Rana Bitar witnessed horrific civil war, death, and persecution, after emigrating to America from Syria. Determined to help others, she goes through medical school to become an oncologist. As she navigates through life as an immigrant in the US, she sees life and death through a physician’s lens. She shares her own life experiences as well as her patients as they contemplate life and death. Poignantly written, The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles brings a new perspective to something we all face: death.
Narrator’s overall voice –
A pleasing, soft voice, the narrator breathes life to the eloquent prose in The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles. She uses her voice to express the emotion peppered throughout this book.
Does the narrator fit the characters?
This is a nonfiction memoir, so the only character is the author. I enjoyed how the narrator embodied the author as she reads.
Narrator’s reading style –
The narrator’s reading style is smooth, emotive, and perfect for the subject matter.
Narrator’s impact on reading experience –
The narrator does a superb job with this book. While the subject matter is difficult to emote, she does an excellent job conveying the emotions.
Narrator’s pacing –
The pacing is perfect, not too fast and not too slow.
Audiobook flow –
The audiobook flows well. I found myself caught up in the lyrical prose. I cried in parts and smiled in others. A truly wonderful listening experience.
What makes this audiobook unique –
Blending the poetic prose and the natural narration, The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles is a unique reading experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Would I recommend this audiobook –
Yes, I recommend this to all readers.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Rana Bitar is a Syrian-American physician, poet, and writer. She earned her Master’s in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
Her memoir, The Long Tale of Tears and Smiles, was published by Global Collective Publishers in August 2021.
She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, A Loaf of Bread (Unsolicited Press, 2019) and the forthcoming Hold Your Breath (Unsolicited Press, 2023).
A Loaf of Bread was a finalist in the “Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition” in 2017 and won an honorable mention in “The 2017 Louis Award” for poetry. Hold Your Breath is selected by The National Women’s History Museum to be on Exhibit for their Coronavirus Journaling Project.
Her poetry has appeared in many journals including, The Deadly Writers Patrol, DoveTales, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Magnolia Review, El Portal, Pacific REVIEW, Black Coffee Review, The Phoenix, The Dewdrop, The International Human Rights Art Festival, The Charleston Anvil, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Sextant Review, The Nonconformist Magazine, and Seeing Things: Anthology of Poetry.
Her translation of Arabic poetry appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Nonconformist, Illuminations, and forthcoming in AGNI Her essays have been published in The Pharos Journal and Pink Panther Magazine.
She lives in upstate NY, where she practices hematology and oncology.
Social Media Links:
Reviewed by: Mrs. N