Reflections

The best part of being an author is hearing from my readers and so I have created this page for you. Whether they were voluntary or involuntary please feel free to share your reactions and reflections of Breathe here.

“Kittel’s story is both a page-turner and a heartbreaker, and her evocation of the devolving family conflicts and the desolations of losing two children is rich and compelling . . . As a woman who’s never given birth, I kept experiencing this story not as just a complicated narrative about a family in crisis, but about the intimate implications of a woman’s body — the potential and power of it, the fragility and insistence of the womb, even its capriciousness, in the imperative of making new life.”- Jan Worth-Nelson

Read the rest of this wonderfully written review of Breathe on the Peace Corps Worldwide website!

“Even with all its loss, Breathe is always – on every page, in every word – a life-affirming story.” – Jen Basile

Breathe was on a blog tour for the month of June, which means that different bloggers were reading and reviewing it, hosting giveaways, or posting essays or interviews. The schedule is here if you want to read them in their entirety. The very first stop on the tour was in Ontario, Canada where Reeka at Bound by Words wrote the following review, which left me, well, breathless:

“”Standing in the light of your Halo, I got my angel now

That line, over and over, from Beyonce’s “Halo” keeps replaying itself in my head. It started the second I knew the inevitable was going to play out. The moment in the book where Kelly would detail the sequence of events, on that first day of tragedy. I’ll admit, it’s extremely hard to sit down and write this review. I have never written my thoughts on my a book that contained real-life events; people that are existing right now, this second, in the world out there. People that are, along with the author, going to be reading this review. Hello, I want to say to you all. Hello, and thank you, for allowing your story to become a part of my being. Kelly, I want you to know that what you’ve done with this memoir is one of the most brave, and admirable, things I have ever witnessed through writing, in my entire life. Your words completely captured me. Your struggles, your hopes, and your triumphs, they were heard, through your beautiful, beautiful words.

I don’t want to review this book like every other book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, because this wasn’t just a book, it was a soul-an entire life. Kelly wrote with the hand of a seasoned author, and hopefully, one day soon, I will have the pleasure of reading her fiction. But Breathe was anything but fiction, it was a recollection of memories-astonishingly detailed memories-starting from the birth of Kelly’s fourth child, Noah. It documented his entire year of life, and then the tragedy that took it away way too soon. I knew it was coming, and still, I couldn’t suppress the avalanche of emotion that bombarded my heart. I had to close the book, and wait for the full on sobbing to stop. I felt for this family; I felt their losses like I was feeling it for my own family. The strength, the complete and utter resilience that Kelly (and her family) possesses, to not only have survived what she went through, but to sit down, years later, and relive it while writing this book. My pain was the most MINISCULE fraction of what she went on to endure from that point on.

I’m moved to comprise this entire review of my feelings, of the raw emotion I felt while reading Breathe, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you what an extraordinary author Kelly is. I went into this knowing that Kelly enjoyed writing, but I didn’t expect her words to exist so magnificently together. There were times when I had to remind myself that I was reading non-fiction. If I could use a familiar word to describe her writing, it would be: poetic. But just knowing that there was genuine feeling, and real-life experience, behind her words, it was elevated to something so much more than that. It was the act of writing in it’s truest form, no need for research, or further knowledge of an idea, person, or place you’ve never had interaction with. It was pure emotion. I can’t even explain to you what this book did to me, and for me. I want to meet Kelly, and I want to tell her, in person, how loudly this book spoke.

I’m not going to do my usual “Recommended for” with Breathe, because this isn’t a book that can be compared to another in it’s genre, it deserves so much more than that. Everyone, everywhere, needs to read Kelly’s story. Everyone, EVERYWHERE, needs to know that this book exists.”

More amazing reviews from the Blog Tour:

Stacy Holmes, Deckled Edge

“Kittel holds nothing back, but at the same time does not come across as vicious or vengeful in telling her story.”

“When I finished the last page all I could say was WOW. Kittel’s story is a gripping reminder of how cruel life can be and how important it is for family to love and forgive.

“Not to be too cliché, but this was one of those books I could not put down. Breathe reads as a compelling novel, but then it breaks your heart to remember that it is a true story.”

Diane LaRue, Book Chick Di

“The courtroom scenes are as riveting as any John Grisham novel, but all this is true.”

”Breathe is such an incredible story, if you told me it was fiction I would say you had quite an imagination. The fact that this is all true makes it all the more remarkable.”

Tiffany Harkleroad, Tiffany’s Bookshelf

“What a brave, wonderful book this is.”

“I found myself consumed with this story and could not stop reading.”

“This book deals with so many different kinds of loss—loss of children, loss of faith in medical practitioners, loss of familial support. Just so much loss. Yet there is such an air of positivity to it.”

Emily, Perks of Being a Jap

OMG this book. Go. Read it now.”

“Kittel has a way with words that sucks you right in.”

“It was heartfelt, moving, raw with honesty and downright terrifying at times.”

Svetlana Libenson, Svetlana’s Reads and Reviews

“Buy it, keep it and never let it go.”

I doubt I’ll ever look at death the same way again.”

“There’s something real and raw in the book.”

Patricia Hamilton, Patricia’s Wisdom

“This book touched me greatly; this book touched me personally.”

“Breathe is a story about healing, understanding, revealing, forgiveness, and all the junk swishing around in extended family dynamics and conflict.”

“The writing is beautiful; memorable.”

Cyndi Curtis, Stuff Made Simple

“Before I had the most awesome opportunity to read and review the book Breathe, by Kelly Kittel, I didn’t know such a powerful, approachable,intelligent woman writer existed. Some have Maya Angelou, I have Kelly Kittel. Something opened up inside the day I turned the first page of her first book . . . Instead of just breathing I choked back tears, smirked, shook my head and felt small victories and the pain—all because of her words. As a mother, I can only think to myself how did this woman do it? How did she become such a hero(ine) of mine? If no other book was read this year by we Mommy’s (those with young kids or us empty nesters) this is clearly the one we must read. Within the first couple of pages I realized an example of the grace we women are capable of—at least those of us lacking some can fall into her book and come up out of the last page fully emerged  in a lesson in it. It’s true, I have not been so moved as I have by this woman’s story. I promise by the end of this book, you too will be holding this book to your chest and saying THANK YOU to this writer for taking you way under and back up to Breathe.”




 

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