Book Review: The Air We Breathe

24 Jun

205552_w185Seventeen-year-old Molly Fisk does not go outside. She’s ruled by anxiety and only feels safe in the tiny tourist-town museum she and her mother run and call home. Yearning to live free but unable to overcome deep wounds from her past, she stays hidden away. Then the chance arrival of a woman Molly knew six years ago changes everything.  Six years ago, newly single Claire Rodriguez was an empty shell. Only in the unique friendship she strikes up with a young girl–a silent girl who’ll only talk to Claire–does she see the possibility of healing. But one day the girl and her mother vanish, their house abandoned. What happened that drove them away? And how can Claire now offer Molly the same chance at finding a life anew?

549647_10151182040864400_16829416_n-199x300Christa Parrish is an award-winning author of three novels. Her debut, Home Another Way (Bethany House, 2008) was a finalist for the ECPA Fiction Book of the Year. Her second novel, Watch Over Me, won the ECPA Fiction Book of the Year and the ForeWord Reviews bronze medal for religious fiction. Her long-awaited third novel, The Air We Breathe (Bethany House, 2012) has already been named a finalist for the 2013 Christianity Today Book Award. When not writing, Christa is creative director of the modern contemporary worship service at her church and co-director of the youth group. She also produces a weekly radio show, helps facilitate DivorceCare and DC4K, chauffeurs her Grand Champion blue belt to and from Taekwondo clases, and chases a toddler. She and her husband, author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, have three children in their blended family: Gray (18), Jacob (11), and Claire (2).

My Impressions:

Emotionally charged, riveting look at the hurts of this world alongside the miracles of God — that’s what you get in Christa Parrish’s The Air We Breath. Parrish’s novel will touch your heart.

Hanna is just 11 when her dream life becomes a nightmare. Her father and her security are ripped from her, and she enters a world that is easier to face silent and locked away. A chance encounter with Claire, a woman dealing with her own demons, gets her talking again, but the strain on her relationship with her mother brings a very uneasy peace.

Hanna and Claire both deal with survivor’s guilt. They blame their own actions for the results of another’s sin and the consequences of a fallen world. They both know God is there, but are unsure of just how much grace one is allotted in  a lifetime. Both struggles, born out of extreme circumstances, nevertheless resonate with the reader. Does God always answer and can we really expect Him to work through all the things in our lives?

The Air We Breathe is beautifully written. The chapters alternate between Claire and Hanna/Molly’s characters and two different time periods, giving the reader glimpses into past actions and present results. The characters are complex and flawed, causing the reader to alternately feel empathy and frustration. This book would be a great addition for any book club.

The Air We Breathe is nominated for a Christy Award. The ceremony is tonight, and I look forward to finding out if the judges were as blown away as I was by this book.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

(I received The Air We Breathe from Bethany House in return for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)


2 Responses to “Book Review: The Air We Breathe”

  1. Carole June 24, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    This was one of my favorite reads last year and it would be well deserving of the Christy Award. I enjoy novels with rich characterization and depth, so I’ll be reading more by Christa Parrish.

    • rbclibrary June 24, 2013 at 8:51 am #

      I agree with you on her characterization — they really came alive for me. It had been on my shelf for a while. Sure wish I had picked it up sooner. I have Watch Over Me in my TBR pile. I am going t suggest it to one of my book clubs. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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