❰PDF / Epub❯ ☂ How to Breathe Underwater Author Julie Orringer – Horse-zine.co.uk

How to Breathe Underwater chapter 1 How to Breathe Underwater, meaning How to Breathe Underwater, genre How to Breathe Underwater, book cover How to Breathe Underwater, flies How to Breathe Underwater, How to Breathe Underwater 00e9d8d9c59b1 Nine Brave, Wise, And Spellbinding Stories Make Up This Award Winning Debut In When She Is Old And I Am Famous A Young Woman Confronts The Inscrutable Power Of Her Cousin S Beauty In Note To Sixth Grade Self A Band Of Popular Girls Exert Their Social Power Over An Awkward Outcast In Isabel Fish Fourteen Year Old Maddy Learns To Scuba Dive In Order To Mend Her Family After A Terrible Accident Alive With The Victories, Humiliations, And Tragedies Of Youth, How To Breathe Underwaterilluminates This Powerful Territory With Striking Grace And Intelligence From The Trade Paperback Edition


10 thoughts on “How to Breathe Underwater

  1. says:

    I can t really express how much this book affected me I was thinking I might just skip the review thingy and just leave it as holy shit and be done with it Of course, I can t do that It s been 3 days since I finished it and I find myself going back and rereading lines and calling up scenes Why Because these characters are better than me and I live in retrospect These stories pull at my gut and bring me back to times where shoulda and maybe if exist even though I know I can never go back and undo what has happened Those events and my actions are a part of me They are noxious memories that cannot be candy coated My bad.Maybe I am a stereotype One that writers can hone in on and know that I am where the is at I seem to be drawn to a certain classification Motherless child of cancer who has many regrets read Catholic Guilt and is stunted therefore never learning how to be a real grownup Lorrie Moore, Susan Minot, Sonya Sones they nail it Now I can add Julie Orringer to the list She captures the little girl who is strong when she has every reason not to be She empowers these girls Not all are part of the above classification Some are just young girls thrown into situations that shape them. Show how fierce they can be I so admire this This was so not me I was invisible My mom was dying and I ignored it I fought with her, I didn t listen to her medical updates, I turned up my radio when she was crying in the next room I was angry that her illness took over my life I was forced to babysit and cook dinner and clean up I was 12 and hiding outside until after dark so I wouldn t have to deal with the sighs of pain or the blank look in her face I was 13 and staying over at a friend s house, pretending that I was a normal girl with a normal life I was 14 and wretching as I cleaned her hair out of the drain What a bitch The girls in these stories are who I wish I had been Helena in What We Save who watches her mom shrink away and assumes the role of caregiver Mira, the strong artist with the supermodel cousin in When She is Old and I am Famous who doubts her talents yet still doesn t pretend to be someone other than who she is Ella in Pilgrims silent yet always seeing, always aware even when her parents are grabbing onto whatever fad might help them I was 15 and being dragged to church to pray when we had never really prayed before and what the hell would God do now Maddy in The Isabel Fish oh, Maddy, you might just be my favorite. With your inner monologue such perception I was 17, leaving home as soon as the diploma was in my sweaty hands Running away seemed the best choice I hid behind a thin wall of pretend adulthood Set my own rules, see what I want to see, no silicone breasts or wigs or bottles upon bottles of medications set out with such reverence Cancer dropped from my vocabulary.I was 18 and my mother was nothing than a skeleton In the 5 months since I had moved she had withered I couldn t look her in the eye I couldn t say I was sorry I couldn t admit that I was so very wrong in the way I treated her These girls they are incredible and I thank Julie for putting them to paper, fleshing them out, giving me a chance to know them and pretend I had chosen a different path.


  2. says:

    So The overarching themes of this book seem to be Children should be listened to and paid attention to Children are adults links to the real world a grounding force that is there to stabilize adults if they bother to involve themselves in their children s lives and pay attention to the details of children s existence Males are at worst rapists and sexual predators, and at best clumsy and inept People in general are cruel, unfeeling jerks If you are not a helicopter parent who monitors her his children s every move, your children will a be raped if they are female b rape someone if they are male c murder someone d be murdered by other children this seriously happens in than one story, not sure how Orringer grew up but this concerns me This book of short stories is depressing with undertones of Flannery O Connor Whether you feel this is a compliment or not depends on how you feel about O Connor The stories, while dark, are strong and arresting, but not pleasant or enjoyable.Cancer, being Jewish, and girls age 15 and younger being sexually fucked with to varying degrees are all themes in these stories.Let s break it down 1 PILGRIMSChildren with a mom view spoiler who is dying of cancer go to a hippie retreat While there, children are extremely cruel to each other and one child accidentally causes another child s death while torturing her The children cover up the body and the guilty one threatens to kill anyone who tells.The adults, consumed with dying or having spouses who are dying from cancer, notice none of this hide spoiler


  3. says:

    NO SPOILERS How to Breathe Underwater or, Feeling Like a Fish Out of Water That s what Julie Orringer has done most successfully in this collection of nine pensive short stories that concern girls and young women captured what it feels like to be out of one s comfort zone In one story, a girl feels awkward in an unfamiliar family s home during an unconventional Thanksgiving In another, an insecure young woman feels constant discomfort in the presence of her model cousin In yet another, a school girl is reminded daily of just how much she doesn t fit in with the mean girl clique Orringer cut to the quick well and therein lies one of the collection s problems the stories view the world through too cynical a lens This author overdid it The end of one story sums this up Just when it seems a protagonist s crush is finally, surely going to bring some light into her life, he doesn t Orringer ties it up by stating all will stay the same for this poor miserable main character On the one hand, this kind of harsh realism is bold and takes courage to depict, but on the other, it s unsatisfying for the reader That s just the fact of the matter, and authors should be aware of it If they re to be as strong as they can be, even the saddest stories need at least a tiny flicker of hope Orringer has much experience with the short story format prior to How to Breathe Underwater, she was published in several literary journals, such as Ploughshares, The Paris Review, and The Yale Review, so it s ironic that one of her bigger problems was that she was too ambitious with each story She attempted to explore everything from drug abuse to teenage sexual desire to child psychopathy In the first story alone she tackled three themes that are too emotionally complex to succeed within the confines of the short story format Disappointingly, nothing in this collection is fully realized, and though her effort to do so is apparent, Orringer didn t really say anything of tremendous substance about the human condition These stories are too cursory an examination to hold much, if any, great significance, but she did want very badly for them to be deeply significant Orringer needed help wrapping it all up Many of these stories conclude poorly or lack resolutions This is not the same as up to interpretation endings these are incomplete, as if she thought a simple period at the end was an acceptable finale Care is a prime example The format doesn t quite work in Note to Sixth Grade Self, and the point of view in What We Save is clunky to the point of distraction This story is one that, like all the others, is narrated by a young female, but What We Save needs to be narrated by the mother Because she wanted it for her collection about girls and young women, though, Orringer forced it Rounding out the collection is Stations of the Cross Orringer was enthusiastic about symbolism, and it s heavy handed in some stories but is egregiously heavy handed here This story also contains a factual error regarding the sacrament of Holy Communion that will be glaring to Catholic readers Some of these short stories end worse than others, and it s odd that Orringer chose Stations of the Cross, one of the most disturbing, as the collection s swan song It was a bad move All it does is draw attention to the overall despondency of the collection If a few tears are shed by the end, it s not because How to Breathe Underwater stirred the soul but rather, induced depression Final verdict Fans of coming of age stories will be attracted to How to Breathe Underwater but should look elsewhere for stories that genuinely satisfy.


  4. says:

    Are you looking for a collection of short stories about the trials and tribulations of growing up that s ultimately inspirational and uplifting You won t find it here in this book which maybe should have been titled How to Read Underwater This is because I felt I was drowning in misery nearly the entire time I was reading it, often needing breaks to surface and inhale That s not to say that the stories aren t well written since they are, or that they aren t realistic since most of them are very genuine and astute when it comes to showcasing the confusing process of growing up, especially for the girls and young women featured in this book But this book is imbalanced and focuses mainly on traumatic experiences of children or young women who are left to navigate a treacherous world on their own I can never comprehend collections such as this that show very little variety and very little optimism or hope, and instead choose to focus on the negative and how inhumane or neglectful people can be toward one another when caught up in themselves I can watch the evening news or read the daily newspaper for a heavy dose of that When I read a book such as this, I want to read how people survive such challenges and not merely read about the misery caused by them I wished to sit down with the author and ask about her purpose for writing a collection of stories that show young people at the mercy of others who show little mercy It seems she s adding to the misery she writes about instead of showing ways to cope or survive when things can t or won t change, at least for the time being Rant over The writing is excellent in this book The author knows how to unfold a story, beginning in the center then peeling back corners to reveal what came before and what is to come These stories engaged me even as they repelled me for the most part Though there were a few exceptions where the stories ended on a hopeful note My favorite was titled The Isabel Fish which was about a teenaged sister and brother s relationship in the aftermath of a tragic accident So if you re looking for a short story collection with some excellent writing about various difficult situations faced mainly by females when growing up, and you don t mind bleakness with only a few rays of hope to sustain you, this book might be a satisfying read for you As for me, I read to be entertained, or to learn something, or to be inspired, or to feel part of something bigger than myself These stories are small in scope with their mostly bitter bites of life physical and emotional cruelty, bullying, guilt, shame, sickness and they had me coming away with the need for fresh air and a dose of human kindness.


  5. says:

    Enjoyed most of the stories, they were well written and had engaging characters and interesting enough plots, but on the whole there was nothing really memorable or spectacular about the collection Liked how the focus on each story was on young girls women and the various issues they faced Wasn t impressed with all the female hating going on though, most of the main characters hated other girls or had to deal with over the top bitchy females It was a bit much When She Is Old and I Am Famous, The Isabel Fish, Care, and Stations of the Cross were the stories that stood out the most to me, they were poignant and engrossing and managed to capture the protagonists feelings and thoughts in a realistic and evocative way In comparison the other stories weren t as affecting or entertaining, they were still somewhat enjoyable to read though.


  6. says:

    Collection of lovely short stories about children and adolescents Very dark themes They brought up a lot of emotions for me Long after reading this book, I found myself thinking of certain of the stories Each story is complete she really knows how to write short stories well.


  7. says:

    Yikes, I finally made my way through this fairly slender book of short stories.And I didn t like them.The characters in these stories all inhabit a rather bleak landscape not the external environment, mind you, but the one inside them, their interior selves Bleak, bleak, bleak They are passive, bystanders, poor decision makers, or they don t make decisions at all They allow others to make them They watch as awful things are done to them, or to others, and they just stand there When one character does make a stand and with a gun , it s only after a series of stupid things she allows to happen So a gun, okay makes sense It s a quick fix to a situation that could have gone a dozen different and interesting ways I had trouble just reading these They felt cold, angry, disillusioned, depressing Time and time again something truly awful happens and the MC just stands there I m not kidding They might talk out in their head what they should do, but they don t So from what POV am I coming From being an introvert in a family of not introverts In the family circle I lived in grandparents next door large family of cousins across the street other cousins all over town three kids in my family with a functioning mom and dad almost EVERYONE was a freaking EXTROVERT So talk about passivity Me, being one of three introverts in that huge crowd, that should have been my deal Go hide Be quiet Escape But I didn t I stood up for myself and I did things.So when I see a book about a lot of passive characters, most of whom are drowning in their bleak little lives, and who only occasionally struggle to get to the surface , I go WTH There is very little hope here Or sense of direction Or a feeling that if you read an update about these people that very much has changed Yeah, change is hard, but it takes guts.I don t see much guts in any of these characters and I didn t like any of them.


  8. says:

    Thick, THICK description, very tangible scenes that she puts you in and really makes you see and feel and smell, etc Great writing Subject matter of some a bit wearying, in that dramatic life s just oh so tragic short story kind of way, but that might just be me and my personal hangups I m so tired of everyone and their literary fucking drug addictions and fatal car crashes and dead parents and what have you But then, what is it I want people to be writing about instead I have no idea Winning contests Vacuuming Playing with a puppy Anyway, Orringer s a very good writer and I m extremely jealous of her because she s around my age and I d prefer if if good writers would always be substantially older Or at least weird looking I hate it when people are prettier than me and also very talented Oh well, such is life I should be used to it by now.


  9. says:

    As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that I would rate this book a 3, but when I finished I realized that would not be fair I loved these stories, usually in short stories you like some, dislike some, but in this book I liked them all All young women, different ages, different life circumstances, but all facing challenges that they need to find their way through and without parental involvement The first story, Pilgrims was chilling and gave off a Lord of the Flies type of vibe Isobel Fish was one of my favorites and I expected something to happen that did not and I was glad Her prose is natural her storytelling and pacing is smooth and I have never read her novel, but if it is written with the same type of prose, I definitely will.


  10. says:

    I first read this in about 2005 as a library book, before I d ever thought about being a writer myself, and I absolutely loved it It was one of those books that made me want to see if I could write not sure that I ll ever achieve this though Since then I ve often looked for it bookshops but never found it, and then a month or so ago I decided to order it from my local indie bookshop, and although I have two other books on the go, I had to start it as soon as it arrived And I still love it just as much Each story is perfect in their own way the writing, the plots, where they end, the characters All of them well okay, I still have my standout favourites Pilgrims, and The Isabel Fish, but there really isn t a duff story in the whole collection Highly recommended.


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