It’s Saturday afternoon here in the antipodes and I find I can’t get stuck into writing my book until I write about another book, a book I have just finished reading.
I have to get these thoughts and feeling down into words before they lose their force and become just memories.
The book is ‘Drawing Breath’ and it was written and published by Laurie Boris, an indie author and a female author. I make those points so that what I say next achieves full impact. ‘Drawing Breath’ is one of the best books I have ever read and that most definitely includes the hundreds, perhaps thousands of traditionally published books I have read over the last 50 years.
I did not want to read ‘Drawing Breath’ when I first stumbled across it on Indies Unlimited. I read the blurb about 16 year old Caitlyn and 34 year old Daniel and I thought ‘oh no, a Lolita story!’ Wrong.
Then I read further and discovered that Daniel had cystic fibrosis and something in my head just shutdown. Cystic fibrosis is a cruel condition for which there is no cure. Did I really want to read something that was going to depress me?
I was wrong about that too. What I feel now is exultation. How I feel is… uplifted.
I’m not quite sure why I finally bought ‘Drawing Breath’ on Amazon last night but I began reading it at about 11pm – I always read in bed before going to sleep. Well, I was still reading at 3am.
When I woke this morning after far too little sleep I continued reading ‘Drawing Breath’. I finished it half an hour ago and I still can’t let it go. Caitlyn and her mother Maureen, Daniel and his sister Denise, Daniel’s lover Bess, Kumar the breathing therapist at the hospital, all of these characters large and small are still walking and talking in my head and their world seems more real to me than the cosy confines of my office.
How did this happen?
It happened because Laurie Boris is a master storyteller who must have loved each and everyone of her characters because the love shines through in the way even the least important of them has substance.
Writers tend to talk a lot about ‘voice’ and how each character should have a distinctive voice of their own. Well the characters in ‘Drawing Breath’ have far more than voice, they have a presence as vivid as any image on a cinema screen. They exist in time and space, not just as words on a page. And because they exist, their stories have the power to make us feel, for them and also for the human condition that mixes joy and pain in such equal measure.
I really don’t want to write a short, cold summary of the story because the beauty and the joy, and yes the sorrow, are in the reading. To understand what is so very special about this book you have to read it for yourself. So think of this as less of a review and more just the out-pouring of thanks from a reader to a writer.
Thank you Laurie. I am sorry I waited so long to accept the beautiful gift you created with ‘Drawing Breath’.