Breathing Lessons Paperback – Jan 14 2003
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A TIME MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“A wonderful novel, glowing with the insight and compassion of an artist’s touch.”
–The Boston Globe
“More powerful and moving than anything she has done.”
–Los Angeles Times
“Simple, wise, funny, touching, and real . . . Tyler is known for offbeat characters, and Maggie Moran is one of her most endearing.”
–The Christian Science Monitor
“An occasion for laughter and tears.”
–New York Post
“SUPERB FICTION: IT SHOWS US HOW TO LIVE.”
About the Author
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her 16th novel; her 11th, Breathing Lessons, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book has just the right amount of humor and drama. I felt by the end that I really knew the characters. I read it when I was 15 and reading it three years later I have learned to appreciate it more. I don't feel Maggie was condescending at all, she just desperately wanted to hold onto the past. Ira, although tactless, truly believed the truth would set people free. He was just that kind of person. Maggie had such high expectations for her son and truly believed he could do no wrong, whereas Ira probably saw a person who was living a life free of responsiblity. The book was so intricate with people's lives it seemed so real. I know people just like them. No one had bad intentions, no one was malicious, they just all had faults and I think the moral was that you just love people for who they are.
Maggie and Ira Moran, married 26 years, are on their way from their home in Baltimore to the funeral of an old friend in Pennsylvania. In the scope of one day and in 200 miles, Tyler explores the ties that hold a family together with warmth and a sense of irony.
Maggie's a bungler, an incorrigible meddler concerned with everyone's problems but her own, trying to make everything turn out all right for others while her marriage flounders. Ira is the typical middle-aged failure, a man to whom ambition is a long-dead memory but who agonizes over his mediocrity.
Through leaps back and forth through time and imagination, Tyler draws a message that comes through loud and clear: how important it is to realize how much we love those nearest and dearest to us. It's a look at aging that won't shock those who are experiencing it as much as it will younger folks who haven't thought this far ahead. The lessons are important.
It all started when Maggie Moran and her dreary husband, Ira, travelled all the way from Baltimore to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of her best friend's husband. Soon, it became a reunion for Maggie & Serena's batchmates. After several pages of flashbacks on the development of romance between Maggie & Ira, the couple was "forced" to leave at Serena's house because of the "accidental" & disrespectful incident.
After leaving, the story turned again to a lot of reflections and flashbacks. They bore two children, Jesse, (a drop-out from high school who was a rock band member, a separated husband and had a daughter out of wedlock) and Daisy, an incoming freshman who never became close to Maggie. (Wow, I can't believe Maggie's still there!) All of a sudden, Maggie insisted to visit Fiona (Jesse's ex-wife). But Ira said that she only wanted to visit her so that she would see their only granddaughter, Leroy. After pages of flashbacks (still there?), Maggie suggested to Fiona that she and Leroy would spend a night at their home. She hoped that Jesse & Fiona's marriage could still be saved. When she agreed, Maggie called up Jesse and told about Fiona. Jesse couldn't believe it but he went there anyway. In the end, well, the plot went nowhere.
I still can't get the essence of this story. Okay, probably this- this is all about one nosy and caring mother who couldn't prosper the values she wanted to instill in her children and unmoved husband.
Most recent customer reviews
Tyler is a masterful author. Reading her words seems as though you are having your own conversation ... using her words. Amazing writing!Published 15 months ago by DoJoWo
Did I miss something? I kept waiting for something to happen. I would have stopped reading it but I kept waiting for something to happen. Read morePublished on June 26 2004 by Roberta
What a disappointing book especially after reading The Accidental Tourist, which I liked. I admired the character Ira for his love and loyalty to Maggie, but both are losers who... Read morePublished on July 6 2003
Ann Tyler specializes in opposites and what attracts them to each other. The bulk of Breathing Lessons takes place during a car ride from Maryland to Pennsylvania that a middle-age... Read morePublished on June 11 2003 by Peggy Vincent
This must be the most annoying book I can ever remember reading. The lead character Maggie just made me feel like slapping her! Read morePublished on June 7 2003
I must say, this book was the worst book I have ever read. Where to begin? Ah yes! It seems only logical to start with Maggie. Read morePublished on April 23 2003 by Amazon Customer
I find that the greatest novels are those which find meaning and give insights into the lives of real people. Read morePublished on April 26 2002 by Oddsfish