Book Review of Breathing Lessons

Breathing Lessons
Breathing Lessons
Author: Anne Tyler
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on


Maggie and Ira Moran have been married for twenty-eight years and it shows. Maggie is an easy-going free spirit: impetuous, reckless and unpredictable. Her husband Ira is Maggie's polar opposite: amazingly competent, infuriatingly practical and seemingly infallible. Yet, despite all the countless petty squabbles, annoying routines and various personal eccentricities experienced in their life together, Maggie and Ira have managed to make their marriage work for almost thirty years.

Maggie considers herself to be a romantic matchmaker of sorts. Her life's ultimate mission is to unite people and bring couples together; whether they want to be connected or not. Ira secretly wonders if he should have married Ann Landers. In truth, Maggie is a meddler - a well-meaning meddler, yes, but a meddler nonetheless. She is a soft and loving person; who is determined to see only the innate goodness and limitless potential in the people she loves.

On a particularly hot summer day, the couple is driving to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania - ninety miles from their home in Baltimore - to attend the funeral of Maggie's best friend's husband. During the course of that journey, with its several unexpected detours along the way - into the lives of old friends and fully grown children, into fond memories of the past and valiant, if misguided, attempts to rearrange the present - the entire intimate story of a marriage is revealed. All the expectations, the disappointments; the way children can create storms within a family; the way that wife and husband can fall in love with each other all over again; the way that everything - and nothing - changes.

When I first started reading this book, I was expecting it to be relatively uneventful; even slightly boring. However, the story really was very interesting to me. I have always enjoyed reading Anne Tyler's work - in my opinion, she always does an excellent job with characterization and plotting. This was just such a book - a quick and easy read for me; pleasant and poignant, and filled with intricately familiar and well-developed characters. I give this book an A+!