|The Art of Not Breathing|
The Art of Not Breathing has an intriguing plot line that’s part murder mystery part adventure story. Elsie Main’s twin brother drowned five years ago, but even though she was with him the day he died, she can’t remember exactly what happened. Her parents have forbidden her to go to the beach, but it’s only when she’s in the water that pieces of her memory return. Little by little she realizes that her family and friends have all been keeping secrets from her. Only if she dives deep (literally) will she be able to answer the question: What really happened the day Eddie died?
Well add in the fact that Elsie’s mom is an alcoholic, her dad hates the world, her brother is anorexic, her “boyfriend” randomly disappears, she’s bullied at school, and has self-esteem issues. Oh, and her dead twin brother, Eddie, talks to her in her mind. Ya. There’s a LOT of heavy subplot going on.
Things that seem important at the beginning of the book (Elsie hearing Eddie’s voice in her head) end up being trivial (he’s all but silent by the end). The fact that every character is dealing with their own drama made me wish that SOMEONE could have had their life together. It’s a little draining hearing how awful and unhappy everyone is all the time.
I was so excited to explore the country of Ireland! But, the accents disappeared after the first chapter and the vague descriptions of the town and ocean made it sound like this story could just as easily have taken place in New England. Luckily, the only time I’ve ever been to New England was when I was a little kid. New England is just as foreign as Ireland, so The Art of Not Breathing was still a nice escape for me.