Book Review: The Anatomy of Hope

By Terri Bentler, BSN, RN, OCN, CN-BN Feb 17, 2017

Book Review: The Anatomy of Hope
The anatomy of hope: how people prevail in the face of illness. Jerome Groopman, MD. New York: Random House, 2005. 272 pp.

Hope is essential to our feeling of wellness and wholeness. How do people find hope, what do they hope for and what is its worth in times of illness? Can hope be false or true? What if you lose hope?

These questions are answered in this well written book. Dr. Groopman describes various experiences he has encountered in his years caring for patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Reading this book inspired me and broadened my understanding of the importance of hope. I relate to it personally and in my role as an oncology nurse navigator. I recommend this book to medical professionals, caregivers and those diagnosed with serious illness.

My definition of hope may differ from others. Hope for me is a confidence, not in an outcome, but in the process. I have a sure hope, that I am not alone in my days of struggle, or days of peace. I don’t feel I have a “Pollyanna” attitude, of no expectation of hardships, but I feel prepared for those times, because of my faith, which gives me hope. I believe hope builds resilience to continue through tough times, whatever the outcome. Hope does not place blame, that I didn’t do enough or do something right. It is a feeling that my experiences are a part of my life and a process of becoming the best me.

This book gives thoughtful accounts of a number of people and their view of hope. I invite you to spend some time with this book and try to define your experience of hope.