Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

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Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

Buy Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: In sickness and in health until adultery and IVF obsessions part us...or something like that.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: July 2010
Publisher: MIRA
ISBN: 978-0778303541

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Sarah may be struggling to make a living off it, but she does enjoy her job as a cartoonist. She's been through a lot recently, including her husband's battle with cancer, and her alter ego Shirl provides an outlet for a lot of the emotions and confusion she's feeling.

That was then, anyway. Now, Sarah is a woman in turmoil, having discovered her husband's cheating ways. She flees her adopted hometown of Chicago for her original starting point, California, but is the change from the windy east to the sunny west just an aside on the weather, or a true metaphor for Sarah's life? Will she be happier single, alone and in a bit of trouble, than she was in her marriage, happy as it once was?

This is my first dip into Wiggs' work (though there is a significant back catalogue out there) and I rather enjoyed it. Just Breathe is a gripping story about the complexities of relationships and being given a chance to start from scratch again and hope it works out better the second time. There's no denying the element of romance to it, but this is human and real, not all fluffy toys and pretty flowers. It's also not your typical characters, and Sarah's relationships with the two men in her life, her father and Will, aren't your usual fall back so are fresh and more interesting.

We meet Shirl even before we meet Sarah. There's a comic strip at the start of each part of the book, and since Shirl's adventures resemble Sarah's at least to some degree, we get an idea of what's to come in the real world from what's happening in the cartoon one. And yet, this is no clumsy 'theme' novel nor an embarrassing attempt for an author to sneak in their 'other talent' alongside the one you've actually paid for. That's because (a) the comic strips are few and far between and (b) because they're actually kinda funny.

This is a beautiful book, not just for the way heartache turns to hope but, on a simpler level, for the way it is written. The language flows beautifully meaning you want to keep reading for that alone, without even considering the intriguing plot. It's sad but not tearjerker sad, funny but not slapstick.

It's Jodi Picoult without all the court room drama; a less superficial Sophie Kinsella. Whichever way you look at it, it's a great read.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

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Buy Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs at Amazon.com.


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