Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

Just Finished:

Cartoonist Sarah Moon tackles life’s real issues with her syndicated comic strip just Breathe, which is how the subject of infertility became fair game for her wickedly satirical pen. As Sarah’s cartoon alter ego, Shirl, undergoes artificial insemination, it mirrors Sarah’s own desperate attempts to conceive after her husband’s bout with cancer. However, Sarah’s dreams of the future did not include the infidelity of her now fully recovered husband. Faced with the unthinkable, Sarah asks herself, what would smart, sassy Shirl do? She’d floor the gas pedal straight out of Chicago.

She heads back to the small Northern California coastal town where she grew up. Just as she’s settling in, a sudden dizzy spell lands her in the arms of somebody she never expected to meet again: Will Bonner, the high school superstar she’d skewered happily in her old comics. Now a local fireman, he’s raising his teenage stepdaughter alone and looking better than ever. It is at this promising juncture that Sarah discovers she’s pregnant. With twins.

The irony is delicious. Here she is, back home in a place she couldn’t wait to leave, pregnant with the babies of a man she just divorced. Now her heart is calling out to a single father of a troubled girl who reminds Sarah a lot of herself. Hardly the most traditional of new beginnings, but who says life, or love, is predictable…or perfect? The winds of change have led Sarah here. Now all she can do is just close her eyes…and breathe.

My Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. The story covers a year (maybe year and a-half) of Sarah’s life. It begins in Chicago while she is happily married to Jack, and is hopeful that she and Jack will soon be expecting a new addition to her family.

Things happen (will not divulge any spoilers here, sorry!), and Sarah finds herself back in her hometown in Northern California. There, she must go about rebuilding her life and coming to terms with her past. Unfortunately, Sarah was an outcast in school ~ an artsy type who never fit in. She soon learns that not everything is how it seemed in high school.

I enjoyed the building of her relationship with Will, a former classmate. The pacing was slow, which I appreciate. Sarah and Will were not friends in high school, so I appreciated the fact that Susan took the time to build their relationship and actually make it believable. I also enjoyed Sarah’s relationship with Aurora, Will’s daughter. The fact that they became friends before Sarah and Will did added a great likeability for me to this story.

There were a few choppy things I couldn’t get passed. The first was Sarah’s babies. In one chapter, they were three months old, and then it seemed like the next chapter they were eating cheerios, sitting in high chairs, and able to indicate when they wanted to be picked up. Evidently, there was a passage of time between the chapters, but I missed any indicators if there were any.

The second, something big happens to Aurora’s friend, Glynnis that effects Sarah, Will, and the whole coastal town where they live. But we don’t see it in the story. It’s referred to, but the story’s not told. Glynnis is supposed to be Aurora’s best friend. And the fact that Aurora is Will’s daughter and therefore, a central part to the story ~ I just thought that what Glynnis did and how they found out should have been in the story. Aurora’s reaction should have been there. The fact that it wasn’t, seemed to leave a tiny hole in the tale for me.

Verdict: This was Very Good. It would have been excellent, but there were some timing issues that I couldn’t get passed. As far as I’m concerned, Susan Wiggs rarely disappoints. This is a definite keeper.

8 thoughts on “Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

  1. I just bought this from B&N with a birthday gift card I've had since August! LOL! I'm taking it on vacation next week. I love contemporary stories, and am anxious to see how it comes together.


  2. I haven’t read any of her contemps. I’ve seen this a couple of times in the bookstore and while intrigued by the cover, haven’t picked it up. Your review makes it darn tempting and I’m trying to stick so hard to my lists. *sigh*


  3. Hi Dev!! Glad you enjoyed this one 🙂 I really enjoy her style, it’s very relax and soothing in my opinion. I don’t think this is the best though, but highly enjoyable :)My favorite contemporary by her is Summer by the Sea 🙂 Did you read it, Dev?


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