Book Reviews,  New Post

The Unwinding of the Miracle, by Julie Yip-Williams {Book Review}

I’m not going to lie, but I’ve been battling with my reading in April. I’ve just had so much work pressure, life pressure and been busy binge watching 7 seasons of Game of Thrones….that I just didn’t read much 🙁 Which hurts my soul just to type that! I’m going to set a goal for myself and I am optimistic that May will be better. I have at least 2 books that I plan to read, and hopefully they will help me find my mojo! In today’s #BookReviewFriday post, I am reviewing a book titled, The Unwinding of the Miracle. This is the true life story of Julie Yip-Williams, and I’d advise you to make sure you have tissues close by…

What is The Unwinding of the Miracle about?

Born blind in Vietnam, Julie Yip-Williams narrowly escaped euthanasia planned by her grandmother, only to have to flee the political upheaval of the late 1970s with her family. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon gave her partial sight. Against all odds, she became a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, a life. Then, at the age of thirty-seven, with two little girls still at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.

The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. Motherhood, marriage, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, grief, jealousy, anger, comfort, pain, disease – this is a book about a life lived well and cut cruelly short. With glorious humour, bracing honesty and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie has set the stage for her final legacy: the story of her life. 

Inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering, this is not just a tale about cancer. It’s about truth and honesty, fear and pain, our dreams, our jealousies and our anger. And it’s about how to say goodbye to your children and a life you love.

My thoughts and review

I am a mom….already I know that THERE WILL BE TEARS. For a month, maybe longer, I could not bring myself to touch this book. Who wants to countdown with somebody to their death? Also, all I pictured was the faces of her kids and her husband….the people left behind. Eventually though, I decided that it was time to read. We’ve been battling lately, due to the fact that my husband still is not employed. I’ve been feeling down, depressed, disconnected. I thought, if anything….this is a book that will make me realise….life isn’t so bad. I still have my health and my family…..

Not going to lie, 2 pages in and I was crying already! However, after that initial reality check of how this book would end, I really started enjoying the book. Julie, for all her trials and tribulations in life….she is real! She is so honest about this journey, she swears, she cries, she laughs, she is strong…she is all that a woman is….and more. Julie herself also learned some lessons on this path, and I think one of the most valuable, was that she was loved.

The writing

In terms of the writing, it is very choppy and the chapters don’t flow. We go back in time, then to present, then back to present time again. There’s some repetitiveness, especially w.r.t her childhood, but from what I understand, this wasn’t a book Julie sat down and wrote. The book is composed of a manuscript from pre-cancer and blog/diary entries put together post-cancer. This was then released quite a while after Julie’s death. However, the lessons that you learn reading this book….I really won’t judge the book on that. It’s as real as you’re going to get. You’ll hug your loved ones a bit tighter. You’ll sigh a sigh of relief, that you are not Julie. Heck, you may even end up grateful for your crappy life.

The Unwinding of the Miracle has a 4.2/5 rating on Goodreads. I’d rate it a solid 4.5 myself, though I don’t know if it’s fair to deduct half a star based on the writing. The Unwinding of the Miracle retails for around R320 from all leading book retailers, but I have spotted it for around R239 on Takealot on sale.

If you’re interested in reading an interview with Julie’s husband, Josh, after her passing, you can click HERE. Also, in case you missed it, I have a fantastic book hamper giveaway over HERE.

Thank you Penguin Random House SA for sending over this review copy. As usual, all opinion and reviews are my own.


I’m Simone, a mom of 3, a wife...obsessed with my family, makeup and books!

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