Penny Brohn UK

Help change life with cancer. For good

Book review: Dying to be me

Dying To be Me’ is a profoundly enlightening memoir of Anita Morrjani’s life, her 4 year journey with cancer, and her eventual slip into a coma as her body finally surrendered to the disease.

Miraculously, whilst approaching death, she experienced a state she vividly describes as pure love and oneness, where her true worth – and the reason for her disease- became crystal clear to her. On awaking from her Near Death Experience, Anita healed rapidly with a new understanding of life, making her determined to go forward and live it ‘fearlessly’- and this is the message Moorjani wants to convey to her readers. This is an ambitious message which could be criticised as unrealistic or even irresponsible. However, Moorjani speaks with such an authentic human voice, I would hope that whoever reads this book can resonate with it on some level.

Anita first describes her young life in Westernised Hong Kong being raised as part of a traditional Indian family. Here, her true feelings and desires often conflicted with the expectations of her culture, and this left her with an underlying sense that she was somehow inadequate and undeserving. Initially I thought this section was unnecessarily drawn out but in hindsight it was important in understanding what Moorjani later conveys about her experience of life before her NDE. She wants us to sense her fear and lack of self-compassion; the two things she later claims caused her cancer. 

As Moorjani progresses to describe the mind blowing NDE and the insights she received, she calls upon the use of metaphors to inspire experiential understanding in her readers.  I enjoyed this section and the skilful way Moorjani uses words to describe something she claims there simply aren’t the words for. This section could be criticised as too ‘far-fetched’ as the insights she offers often challenge the established western understanding of life and ‘dis-ease’, This, despite my open-minded approach, sometimes left me conflicted and impaired my ability to connect fully with what she says.

Nonetheless, Moorjani had already proved herself to me to be human in the previous chapters, meaning my trust in her had been established before she pushed the boundaries of my understanding. Although a highly personal experience, a lot of what she learnt during her healing could be relevant to the reader, whether they are ill or not.  Two of the messages I found most compelling is our need to recognise our interconnectedness, and that it is our birth right to fully express ourselves.

Whilst reading ‘Dying To Be Me’, perhaps the most important message I gleaned was that our true nature is one of all – encompassing love, and where there is love there cannot be fear, lack, or disease. I could fully sense the author’s authenticity and belief in this optimistic message. Anita Moorjani seems to want her readers to connect with the same truths about the reality of life and death as she has. After reading this book, I often find myself linking aspects of my day to day life with some of its messages as so many of them are relevant despite the seemingly ethereal narrative in which they’re contained.

I finished this book feeling much lighter and more optimistic about life. I highly recommend it to everybody. For me it fosters a sense of hope, encouraging us to form more loving relationships with ourselves, which as Moorjani states is the true essence of healing.

Copies of ‘Dying To Be Me’ can be borrowed from the Penny Brohn Library or purchased from the Penny Brohn shop, or bought directly at or

Written by Lauren Small


Was this post helpful?

Subscribe to our mailing list

Receive a weekly update to your inbox on our services and fundraising events.