Beautiful Unbroken by Mary Jane Nealon
One Nurse's Life

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Synopsis

An unflinching memoir by a working nurse

As a child, Mary Jane Nealon dreams of growing up to become a saint or, failing that, a nurse. She idolizes Clara Barton, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Molly Pitcher, whose biographies she reads and rereads. But by the time she follows her calling to nursing school, her beloved younger brother is diagnosed with cancer, which challenges her to bring hope and healing closer to home. His death leaves her shattered, and she flees into her work, and into poetry.

Beautiful Unbroken details Nealon’s life of caregiving, from her years as a flying nurse, untethered and free to follow friends and jobs from the Southwest to Savannah, to more somber years in New York City, treating men in a homeless shelter on the Bowery and working in the city’s first AIDS wards. In this compelling and revealing memoir, Nealon brings a poet’s sensitivity to bear on the hard truths of disease and recovery, life and death.
 

About Mary Jane Nealon

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Mary Jane Nealon is the winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Immaculate Fuel and Rogue Apostle. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
 
Published July 19, 2011 by Graywolf Press. 225 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beautiful Unbroken

Kirkus Reviews

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I had been at the wrong bedside.” Consequently, she took a job nursing young patients who had terminal cancers in the same hospital where her brother lay dying, and this was a turning point in her life.

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

Publishers Weekly

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With a seasoned nurse's practicality and a poet's skill with words, Nealon (Immaculate Fuel;

May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

New York Journal of Books

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This is one nurse’s story, but should be required reading for any nurse, nursing student, or individual who is spiritually seeking after a time of loss.

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

Star Tribune

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It is Nealon's poetic sensibility that makes this lyrical memoir stand out. Winner of the 2011 Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction.

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

City Book Review

Throughout her career, Nealon feels overwhelmed by guilt because she believes she abandoned her brother during his illness to pursue her career, but the lessons she learns from Johnny inspire her to be a better nurse, especially for the dying and the hopeless.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

Bookmarks Magazine



Beautiful Unbroken details Nealon’s life of caregiving, from her years as a flying nurse, untethered and free to follow friends and jobs from the Southwest to Savannah, to more somber years in New York City, treating men in a homeless shelter on the Bowery and working in the city’s...

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

ForeWord Reviews

in other words, any reader who has faced family, career, or relationship challenges (in other words, everyone) will find herself somewhere in Nealon’s story, too.

Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse...

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T F Paris 16 Feb 2015

Absolutely engaging in subject matter and seductive in a literary matter

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