Chicago cartoonist Sarah Moon tackles life’s real issues with a healthy dose of sharp wit in her syndicated comic strip Just Breathe. As Sarah’s cartoon alter ego, Shirl, undergoes artificial insemination, her situation begins to mirror Sarah’s own difficult attempts to conceive. However, Sarah’s dreams of the future did not include her husband’s infidelity; snag number two in Sarah’s so-called perfect life.
With Chicago — and her marriage — in the rearview mirror, she flees to the small Northern California coastal town where she grew up, a place she couldn’t wait to leave. Now she finds herself revisiting the past — an emotionally distant father and the unanswered questions left by her mother’s death. As she comes to terms with her lost marriage, Sarah encounters a man she never expected to meet again: Will Bonner, the high school heartthrob she’d skewered mercilessly in her old comics. Now a local firefighter, he’s been through some changes himself. But just as her heart is about to reawaken, Sarah discovered she is pregnant. With her ex’s twins.
This novel was a nice break from complex literature and AP exam prep. It’s the kind of book that would be perfect to read at the beach or in the hammock outside; there isn’t a lot of thought necessary to understand the plot — girl hated boy in high school, while he never noticed her, but when she moves back years later, sparks fly.
Characters come across as a bit flat, although I did like Sarah and Will’s daughter, Aurora. Multiple story lines are presented but were not all completely explored, and Just Breathe as a whole was a little slow. The arson aspect was just a sideline attraction and hastily thrown together at the end along with the rest of the novel.
- Wiggs, Susan. Just Breathe. New York: Mira, 2008. Print. 400 pgs. ISBN: 0778325776. Source: Library.