Caitlin Kelly is 16 years old. Her mother has raised Caitlin since she was 3 months old by herself with no help from Caitlin's father who left them and never returned. Money is scarce. That's why Caitlin's mother rents out the upstairs portion of Caitlin's late grandparents' house to a long series of tenants -- most of whom Caitlin can't even remember. But this latest tenant is different and Caitlin will remember him for the rest of her life.
He is Daniel Benedetto, an artist and art teacher in his 30s. Daniel is possessed of an artist's temperament -- sometimes wistful and poetic and, sometimes, a Fury unleashed...
Caitlin likes Daniel -- he's artistic, odd and unpredictable. When she visits his apartment upstairs, she's no longer bound by the depression and hopelessness that permeates her mother's part of the house. Daniel treats her like a mentor and she embraces his tutelage with awe and tender grace.
There's one other thing about Daniel: Daniel is dying from cystic fibrosis. Already he has lived longer than 90% of the people with his disease.
On borrowed time, Daniel rails against the conditions and the people in his life that limit him and try to contain him. People like Daniel's sister, Denise, who is constantly interfering in his life -- chiding him about missed doctors" appointments, not eating proper meals and not taking his medication regularly. People like his girlfriend who seems like she's playing the "role" of a concerned love interest instead of carrying on an honest love relationship.
Only Caitlin does not try to contain him. Only Caitlin accepts Daniel and looks up to him as a person, a man, an artist -- instead of just the human face of a deadly disease.
Laurie Boris creates the story like an artist painting a portrait. She draws her characters out a little at a time with care and nurturing until we are caught up in the brush strokes of the plot and, for the moment, unaware of the totality of the entire picture. We know how the story must end but, somehow, we forget about that as we are swept along in the flow of emotions and circumstance.
"Drawing Breath" isn't just a story about a guy with cystic fibrosis. It's a deep, long view of the awkwardness of adolescence, the abandonment of the inner child, the divine inspiration which gives birth to art and the complicated ways in which people are caught up in each other's lives.
"Drawing Breath" will catch and hold you until it wants to let you go...
For more information about the author and the work, go to: http://www.acflory.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/drawing-breath-something-extraordinary/ or http://swellsbennett.blogspot.com/2012/06/book-review-drawing-breath-by-laurie. For ordering information go to: http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Breath-ebook/dp/B007XYOKV6. Available in both paperback and Kindle formats.