I received a copy of this book thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours
in exchange for an honest review.
The coronavirus confinement started on March 14 in my country and the subsequent days felt a bit hectic, me being unable to concentrate on anything but the news, so I began reading short novels and also short stories, because they somehow provided a so much needed sense of completion in the midst of those first weeks.
The benefits of breathing is a collection of short stories, all of them set in an urban environment where human relationships are stripped bare. Most of the stories are based on romantic relationships that either are beginning or finishing, and they explore the way human beings mess things up with our own worries and the weight we carry from past experiences, or the difficulty we find when we have to examine and understand our own feelings to make others understand them as well.
In one story the protagonist starts dating a man who is fun and kind but, despite feeling right by his side, she decides to end the relationship because she finds him too devoted to her and this arouses her fear of commitment, even to a good man. In another, we find a man recently separated who tries an online dating app for the first time, only to feel more and more confused by the rules of these encounters – by what date do you consider you are in a relationship? Are you allowed to make friends or do you just need to search for a partner? These are everyday life stories with everyday life people of all ages who are looking for their dream jobs, a loving partner, or just a way to be happy again.
From the point of someone foreign to the US, I felt surprised by some of the customs that are reflected in the stories through the characters, such as the variety of cuisines and restaurants in the cities of California, or the way everybody seems to relay on therapy when facing a breakup.
In a sense, the stories address ordinary events happening to ordinary people, so the reader can put her or himself in the shoes of the characters. They appear in all lengths, which sometimes made me feel some stories were quite long, but I ended up thinking that this was the purpose of the author, trying to show that sometimes life events seem not to have an end while, in other occasions, they end too abruptly for our liking.
You can follow the tour and enter the giveaway to get your own copy here.
The benefits of breathing
White Whisker Books (May, 2020)
Ebook, 238 pages