To say that this is a ‘coming of age’ story does not do Drawing Breath justice. Yes, Caitlin is only sixteen. Daniel, her art teacher and upstairs neighbor, is in his thirties. And Caitlin learns a lot about life and love. But there is more here. Laurie Boris has written a story that people of all ages will become engrossed in. She understands how each of her characters think. They become real to us, not only Caitlin and Daniel.
Boris treats each of her characters with a gentleness that speaks to her deep understanding of each of them. Caitlin, torn between teenage angst and real love, not just for Daniel, but also for her mother. Daniel, who knows he is dying but still wants the normal love of a woman. Bess, conflicted over her affair with Daniel. Denise, Daniel’s sister, jealous of the attention Daniel received because of his illness and feeling guilty about it. Caitlin’s mother, abandoned by her husband and struggling to raise her daughter on her own with no money.
But this is also a story that brings understanding of cystic fibrosis, helping to dispel fear and aversion without hiding the difficult truth about this fatal condition.
This book reaches the reader on many levels. I recommend it highly. You will be richer for reading it.