Drawing Breath – something extraordinary

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’.

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

33 responses to “Drawing Breath – something extraordinary

  • pennycoho

    what a wonderful review. I just want to head right over to Amazon and purchase it. Actually I think I will. Well done!

    Like

  • Ed Drury

    Like you, I was swept away into this story for the masterful telling of it and its messages about unconditional love. Although intense, the story has so many redemptive qualities which become more important than the story itself. It calls to attention what real love, friendship, and understanding truly is. Like you, I felt this story. You just expressed it more beautifully than I ever could. Fine review of a wonderful story. Thank you!

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks Ed Drury! I ‘felt this story’ too. In hindsight I wish I’d talked a bit more about how well it was told but I’m sure that everyone who reads it will recognize the craftsmanship that went into it, not to mention the beauty of the prose that painted such a vivid picture without becoming ‘too full of itself’.

      For me this story struck the perfect balance between all the necessary elements but, like you, I /felt/ it long before my analytical brain kicked in to tell me why. 😀

      Please join our conversations again! Oh! And I love your didjerido playing! I have a friend who plays and I know how hard it is.

      Like

  • laurieboris

    Meeks, you are a slice of ninja Aussie awesome. Thank you. I just found this and I’m in tears. Good tears. 😀

    Like

  • metan

    Thanks for nothing Meeks, you have given me another book soon to be added to my kindle collection entitled ‘I NEED to read, but when??!’ *sob* 😉

    Like

  • dirtywhitecandy

    Meeka, what a persuasive review. I’m going to check it out too. If a book can impress you that much, it has to be investigated. And thank you for your generosity as a reader in spreading the word. Good writers should be celebrated.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thank you DWC! I have been extraordinarily lucky in the books I’ve been reading lately. All very different and all of them exceptional. The fact that they have been written by women is like icing on the cake.

      I’m no feminist but when I was growing up there just weren’t many female authors, or at least I wasn’t exposed to them. Seeing so many now is a joy in its own right plus it gives me confidence for my own writing.

      Please come and join our conversations again!

      Like

  • Courtenay Bluebird

    I, too, want to read this story based on your review. I filed this big idea away for more consideration later—

    …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.

    Well done, Meeka! You are doing what you’ve set out to do— you are championing independent writers in the most positive and useful way. (Bonus— your writing on this subject is a delight of its own!) Picture me cheering you on! : )

    Like

    • acflory

      -smiles- I was on such a high yesterday that the unreview almost wrote itself! I do thank you for those lovely words though.

      I didn’t set out to champion the indie cause and I most definitely did not lower my ‘picky’ meter one iota to accommodate indie authors yet I kept finding these gems that the world at large knew nothing about. Now I find myself wanting to shout my discoveries from the rooftops. Of course the world at large doesn’t know who this mad woman shouting from the rooftops /is/ so my message isn’t getting very far but I can’t stop shouting. 🙂

      Like

      • Courtenay Bluebird

        I think you should write more “unreviews” (LOVE that term you coined!)— I’ve read, and not read, indie writers in equal measure, so I have no determined stake in where someone produces their writing.

        I just like the good stuff. It sounds like you’re finding it in droves. (Let me not skip over the fact that you are writing the good stuff yourself!)

        May your readerly dowsing rod turn up more books fit for a special Meeka Unreview!

        Like

        • acflory

          -giggles- I should put that into my bio – I specialize in unreviews!

          I do love this treasure trove of indie authors I’m finding. Each new discovery gives me such a rush – literally like unearthing buried treasure. I still love my old favourites amongst the traditionally published authors but they need another review like a hole in the head whereas I know my indie gems get lost in all the… not so great stuff out there. 🙂

          Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            Since you wrote this comment, you’ve made some new discoveries about your devotion to the indie market. What do you think has changed about your outlook in the last few months?

            Like

          • acflory

            Changed? Not that much other than a growing awareness that I will never be good at the marketing side of things. I was talking to another blogger friend about Twitter last night. He’s much better at marketing than I am and even he said that Twitter was often boring but necessary. I find FB boring as well.

            Maybe I’m just one of those people who never ‘gets’ social networking. To me it’s like chit chat at a party. Some people are good at it and enjoy the process. Others sit in corners nursing a drink and wondering how soon they can go home. Without a discussion about something that actually matters, or without good dance music, I’m that wall-flower. 😀

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          • Courtenay Bluebird

            I think… I’ve figured out how to make FB pleasurable, but a lot of that credit goes to the friends I have IRL and the friends I have made. I feel like I’ve rounded the learning curve on Twitter, finally. This is my second Twitter account (and my second FB accounts). It’s only taken me… five years to figure it out?

            It’s a great marketing tool, yes. But, first and foremost, it is about interconnectivity. Twitter is one-liners. FB is anecdotes. If someone on either of these networks forgets I’m a person and not a marketing number, I tend to drop them. Advertising happens IRL everywhere. I don’t need it horning in on my social interactions… I try to make my marketing secondary for the same reasons.

            Now that I’ve said all of that— I have these attacks of shyness online in the same way I have these attacks in person. It’s really weird!

            Like

          • acflory

            Hang on… your marketing? Oh wait, you’re a freelance writer. Of course. Sorry I was just taken aback for a moment thinking you had a book out there and never said anything. 😀

            Re FB and Twitter. The honest truth is I can’t think of anything to say. Very few [of my] passions can be reduced to 140 characters and I can never seem to get a conversation going on FB. My nieces post about their kids, classes they’re taking, favourite CDs or DVDs and that’s fine but I know they’re not interested in the things that make my heart skip a beat.

            Anyway, I’ll cross the media bridge when I come to it 😀

            Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            Ah, I do actually have one book out— but we can talk about that elsewhere. And when I started FB/Twitter, I did so in part to market the column I had for big local alt. weekly— a job that lasted for a nth of a second. Both original FB/Twitter accounts were under my real name and they don’t exist anymore.

            It really did take me forever to figure out the rhythm of FB and Twitter, Meeka. But, I love both because I can keep up with my friends who have scattered all over the globe, plus my new friends that I have made online. Like you, for instance. : )

            Yeah, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Some writers don’t use Twitter/FB at all because they find it too distracting. Others swear by it. There are no right answers when it comes to writing, yeah?

            Like

          • acflory

            lol – I’m going to go check my inbox!

            Btw I really apologise for being so slack in answering comments lately. This Harper Voyager deadline has taken up almost all the energy I possess. I hate working to deadlines. 😦 I am really looking forward to getting my life back again.

            -hugs-

            Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            We can talk later. You’ve been REALLY busy! I’m so glad you made your deadline, lovely Meeka! And now, it’s time for you to get busy on an alternate project while you wait.

            Actually, what are you going to do for the next three months, writing wise?

            Like

          • acflory

            Yes…. the next three months… LOL

            My head tells me I should get on with book 2 or with writing some more short stories but I suspect I’m going to be doing a lot of nervous gardening.

            We’ll see how disciplined I can be…. hah!

            Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            One of my rules is to always, always, always have another project on the back burner, ready to go. Otherwise, I would drive myself nuts while waiting around for responses.

            Nervous gardening sounds like a good solution too. More short stories, maybe? I can’t wait!

            Like

          • acflory

            Sadly one of the first projects I’m going to have to tackle is the house. Seriously in need of some cleaning. 😦 After that I’d really like to get stuck into book 2 as a top priority. I’m also tempted by the idea of doing nanwrimo again. I haven’t done one since 2004 but it’s a great way to blitz some creativity. 🙂

            Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            Get out of my head! I’ve got some house blues, too. I need to do a deep clean, actually.

            I think working on book two in whatever form you choose (NaNoWriMo or otherwise) would be a good direction, right now. Having something in front of you will keep you sane. : )

            As for the housework— we can complain to each other, right?
            ; )

            Like

          • acflory

            lmao – we could start a never-ending blog about housework! My standards have dropped from the level they were when I had a little child crawling around the floors and licking the skirting boards. And that’s probably a good thing. But the last few weeks have been so full on with editing etc it’s a wonder anyone got fed, forget about hygiene. 😦 So yes, deep clean coming up. -sigh-

            Like

          • Courtenay Bluebird

            We COULD start a never-ending blog about housework!

            I have v. low standards about housekeeping right now.

            Too low. I mean, I’m not living on a trash barge or anything, but the dust, oh! the dust!

            I’m getting ready for a pretty serious clean myself, so—

            please, let us support each other when we begin to clean. I would love that.

            Like

          • acflory

            -grin- My strategy at the moment is to do one job I hate per day. Yesterday it was cleaning the cooktop. I’ve got tradies tracking in and out today so it’s pointless aiming for the floors. I /may/ tackle the fridge. -shudder-

            Tell you what, how about we start another blog like the fridge magnets? Except for housework. One ‘job’ per comment? Maybe include cleaning tips and tricks? Green cleaning? Gadgets that really work?

            Like

  • Candy

    Like you, I would have avoided this particular book after reading a brief description. Maybe we should be wary not just of judging books by covers, but of judging books by quick blurbs, as well?

    Like

    • acflory

      I agree. It’s next to impossible to give an accurate idea of what a story is about in just a few short sentences yet all too often that is all an author gets. I think from now on I’m going to avoid blurbs altogether and just read the excerpt,if there is one!

      Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    Who could fail to be delighted to receive a review like this. It’s insightful without giving away the story at all. It’s compelling as we now have to see if we see and read the same things, which I know I will of course because I’ve learned you’re honest as a reviewer. I wish the book and the author Laurie Boris well, (I shall even hide my jealousy of her obvious skills) and I really think you should have a slot in a major national newspaper doing book reviews and bringing Indies who deserve before the public view.
    You’re a real talent.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks David. I’m not so sure about the talent bit but I’m starting to feel really passionate about getting indie authors recognized for their talent and dedication.

      When these writers, including you my friend, are so bloody good it seems utterly wrong for them not to get the praise they deserve!

      Like

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