Breaking & Mending (Hardback)

A junior doctor’s stories of compassion & burnout

Joanna Cannon

The unforgettable memoir from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

'One of the most moving, compelling books I've ever read' Marian Keyes
'One of the most beautiful books you will ever read' Kate Mosse
'I tore through Breaking and Mending... frank, emotional and compassionate' David Nicholls
'Powerful and moving' Nina Stibbe
'Deeply moving and thought-provoking' Nathan Filer
'Powerful, shocking and intimate' John Boyne
'The story of the struggling NHS has been told in several excellent books recently, and this is among the best. We need to listen.' Katy Guest, Guardian
'I will be buying Breaking & Mending today and you should too' Adam Kay
'Breathtaking' Christie Watson, Telegraph


"A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I 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.

Publication date: 26/09/2019

£12.99

ISBN: 9781788160575

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: Biography & Memoir

Breaking & Mending (Ebook)

A junior doctor’s stories of compassion & burnout

Joanna Cannon

The unforgettable memoir from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

'One of the most moving, compelling books I've ever read' Marian Keyes
'One of the most beautiful books you will ever read' Kate Mosse
'I tore through Breaking and Mending... frank, emotional and compassionate' David Nicholls
'Powerful and moving' Nina Stibbe
'Deeply moving and thought-provoking' Nathan Filer
'Powerful, shocking and intimate' John Boyne
'The story of the struggling NHS has been told in several excellent books recently, and this is among the best. We need to listen.' Katy Guest, Guardian
'I will be buying Breaking & Mending today and you should too' Adam Kay
'Breathtaking' Christie Watson, Telegraph


"A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I 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.

Publication date: 26/09/2019

£8.99

ISBN: 9781782834526

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B07GH9NYXM

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: Biography & Memoir

Breaking & Mending (Audiobook)

A junior doctor’s stories of compassion & burnout

Joanna Cannon

The unforgettable memoir from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

'One of the most moving, compelling books I've ever read' Marian Keyes
'One of the most beautiful books you will ever read' Kate Mosse
'I tore through Breaking and Mending... frank, emotional and compassionate' David Nicholls
'Powerful and moving' Nina Stibbe
'Deeply moving and thought-provoking' Nathan Filer
'Powerful, shocking and intimate' John Boyne
'The story of the struggling NHS has been told in several excellent books recently, and this is among the best. We need to listen.' Katy Guest, Guardian
'I will be buying Breaking & Mending today and you should too' Adam Kay
'Breathtaking' Christie Watson, Telegraph


"A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I 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.

Publication date: 26/09/2019

£19.99

ISBN: 9781782835776

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B07VNT8DQ9

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: Biography & Memoir

Breaking & Mending (Paperback)

A junior doctor’s stories of compassion & burnout

Joanna Cannon

The unforgettable memoir from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

'One of the most beautiful books you will ever read' Kate Mosse

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.

Publication date: 02/07/2020

£8.99

ISBN: 9781788160582

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: Biography & Memoir

Reviews for Breaking & Mending

'I tore through Breaking and Mending... frank, emotional and compassionate'

David Nicholls 

'One of the most beautiful books you will ever read'

Kate Mosse 

'Joanna Cannon's powerful, moving memoir of her time as a junior doctor is so good.'

Nina Stibbe 

'Now a best-selling writer, Cannon's stories of her time as a junior doctor explore how humans can give each other hope and compassion in even the darkest of moments.'

Jameela Jamil Stylist

'The story of the struggling NHS has been told in several excellent books recently, and this is among the best. We need to listen.'

Katy Guest Guardian

'In Breaking and Mending, [Joanna Cannon] brings her literary talents to her previous career in a memoir brimming with her trademark compassion and psychological insight. ... What sets Cannon's book apart is not just its humanity and wisdom but the novelist's keen observational eye. Cannon is a chronicler both of the human condition and the quotidian details - the clothes, the tics, the sights, sounds, smells and ephemera - which speak to who we are.'

Hannah Beckerman Observer

'Before she became a novelist, Cannon worked as a doctor. Here, she recalls her days on the wards in the most moving way.'

Anna Bonet Red

'This raw and emotional memoir ... is full of depth and insight, and made me so grateful to all those who work in healthcare.'

Nina Pottell Prima

'Powerful, shocking and intimate all at the same time'

John Boyne 

'I will be buying Breaking & Mending today and you should too'

Adam Kay, author of THIS IS GOING TO HURT 

'A deeply moving, thought-provoking memoir written with true compassion and intelligence'

Nathan Filer 

'All doctors should read this - and patients too. Emotionally wise and beautifully written'

Jill Mansell 

'Cannon is on her way to becoming a national treasure - no one does quirky, funny and soul-searing the way she does'

 Emerald Street

'There is so much compassion in this memoir, so much kindness and empathy. But there is also anger at the way the caring profession doesn't seem to care for those who work in it. It's a heartbreaking read but it ends on a hopeful note.'

Eithne Farry The Sunday Express

'A book driven by kindness and hope. It's a rare view into a strange and challenging word.'

Kerry Fowler Sainsbury's Magazine

'Fascinating read'

Lucy Atkins 

'Breaking & Mending is one of the most moving, compelling books I've ever read'

Marian Keyes 

'Has all the makings of a highly charged novel, complete with unsavoury characters: the registrar who abandons the newly qualified Cannon mid-shift to go on holiday, the consultant who shouts and spits on her during a meeting. And there is plenty of tragedy, as she writes frankly about how difficult she found it to maintain professional distance from her most heartbreaking cases. Ultimately, though, hers is a hopeful story ... this NHS memoir is well-paced and often beautifully told.'

Lucy Knight Sunday Times

'Wonderful'

Jill Mansell 

'Breathtaking'

Louise Doughty 

'There's an admirable ballsiness to Cannon. She whistleblows. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Plainly, she wants to nurture mental health in others and seeks to expose the stress, ridiculous workload and lack of pastoral care she experienced in medicine ... She writes lyrically, with a novelist's verve and colour'

Melanie Reid Times

'It is a breathtaking book ... Cannon's narrative skill here is subtle yet tremendous ... Cannon does language expertly, describing not only how to live, but why. I imagine she was the kind of doctor that surely all doctors should strive to be: human, honest, questioning, and (carefully) kind ... Joanna Cannon's story is beautiful. Here's to the wild cards.'

Christie Watson Telegraph

'Intimate, delicately constructed and as absorbing as it is arresting'

 i Paper

'Intimate, delicately constructed and as absorbing as it is arresting'

Sophie Morris Scotland on Sunday

Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon is the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which was published in 15 countries, and sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone. Jo's love of narrative had always drawn her to psychiatry, but it wasn't until her thirties that she decided to go back to university to study medicine. Before specialising in psychiatry, she rotated through a series of hospital jobs, from the chaos of A&E to the handkerchief quiet of palliative care.