Breathing Lessons Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Breathing Lessons

The main character, Maggie Moran, a middle-aged housewife and her husband, Ira, are planning to travel to a small town some 90 miles away from their home to attend to a funeral.
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Upon leaving, Maggie hears a caller on a radio show talking about marriage. She thinks she recognizes the voice of her estranged daughter in law, Fiona. Maggie's son, Jessie, divorced Fiona shortly after their baby girl, Leroy, was born. They actually had a shotgun wedding, because Fiona got pregnant just out of high school. Jessie is a bit of a bad boy, so his marriage with Fiona didn't last. Fiona took her baby daugher and left. Maggie, Ira and Jessie lost touch with Fiona and Leroy. However, when Jessie and Fiona were married, they used to live with Maggie and Ira, and Maggie bonded with her daughter in law and with her baby granddaughter, and 7 years later, she still misses them a lot.
In the same morning they live for the funeral of Maggie's best frien
d's husband, Maggie thinks she heard Fiona on the radio at a show about marriage. She concludes that Fiona called that radio show because she's about to marry someone else, so she decides to visit her (Fiona's house is on their way). Ira doesn't agree with Maggie, but ultimately he caves in and they visit Fiona. They soon find out that Fiona doesn't called the radio station and she doesn't have marriage plans. A hopeless romantic, Maggie tells Fiona that Jessie still loves her and invites Fiona and Leroy for a visit.

The novel also explores Maggie's and Ira's marriage, from when they started dating and until now, about 30 years later. It's a opportunity for the author to compare two relationships that are very different: Maggie and Ira (they have their fair share of marital pains, but still have a happy, loving relationship) with Jessie and Fiona (a marriage that was doomed right from the start)
Best part of story, including ending: I loved this story because it is a very sensitive, delicate approach towards love, marriage, family, relationships, about the mistakes people make and how those mistakes keep us apart from the ones we love.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Maggie and Ira sneak up and have sex at the funeral, because it has a funny touch and because it's about two people that, after 30 years together , are still in love and attracted of each other.

Opinion about the main character: I like Maggie because she's determined to do her best to help her son and granddaughter reconnect and because she belives in love.

The review of this Book prepared by Maria Gatea a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Breathing Lessons

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Pregnancy/Child rearing    -   Yes Major part of story:    -   dealing with unexpected pregnancy

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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