Friday, March 8, 2013
Review: Just Remember to Breathe
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Series: Thompson Sisters, #1
Release date: November 12th 2013
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Source: Author for review
Paperback, 280 pages
I’d like to be able to say that Just Remember to Breathe was a complete waste of my time, but it wasn’t. Yes, most of it was downright horrible, the writing isn’t even worth thinking about, it needs hours and hours with a decent editor and the author should never, under any circumstances, write from a female perspective again. But underneath the cheesy love story was a whole different story that was touching, genuine and honest. That story, the story of a young soldier, badly wounded in Afghanistan, who just wants to find a way to get rid of the pain and the guilt and live his life as normally as possible, is a story that should have been the main focus of this book. That’s the story I wanted to read.
But I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Just Remember to Breathe is the first book in a series called Thompson sisters. From what I understand (and I did some research for the good of mankind), each sister will get her book (Julia already has hers), Nora Roberts style. I have no idea what made Charles Sheehan-Miles, an ex soldier who currently works with disabled veterans, think that he can write a New Adult love story, and in alternating points of view at that, but Nora Roberts he’s not. He has no understanding of his female characters, which was more than obvious from Alex’s point of view. It made me cringe at times, that’s how bad it was, and Alex herself was as plastic as they come.
About Alex and Dylan’s relationship, I’ll say this (and try not to grit my teeth in the process): they met as teens on a trip to Israel and stayed more or less together for years, even with four thousand miles between them. Then, while he was in Afghanistan, they broke up over a misunderstanding and he was wounded a few days later. Alex didn’t hear from him again until he showed up at Columbia and they were forced to do research together. The entire thing was blatantly unbelievable and cheesy, to the point of being laugh out loud funny on several occasions, and not at all touching like it was meant to be.
While in college, Alex was sexually assaulted twice by the same guy, a family friend her parents wholeheartedly approved of. This is the part that truly made me angry because it was handled superficially with absolutely no understanding for the women that go through such a thing. It was all a huge cliché and the author insisted on using those empty phrases you can read in cheap self-help articles, probably because he didn’t know any better. The rapist was just as bad, poorly written, made to be either incredibly stupid or just begging to be caught. The entire thing was thrown in just to create an extra obstacle for Alex and Dylan and I resented that.
There were two significant relationships in this book, and while Alex and Dylan’s oftentimes wandered into ridiculous(ly unbelievable) territory, the relationship between Dylan and his fellow soldier and friend Sherman was simply wonderful. Those few brief conversations between them, their loyalty and friendship, the genuine emotions I felt, the understanding, all of it made this book worth reading, despite so many unforgivable problems.
I think Charles Sheehan-Miles should have just written what I suspect he really wanted to write, even though it probably wouldn’t sell as well. If he ever decides to write a story about a young man struggling with PTSD, war injuries, brain damage and guilt, I’ll be glad to read it. But more if this? No, thank you.
Honestly, I hate doing this to a self-published author, I do, but honesty above all, right? You won’t have any trouble finding many four and five star reviews, so please read some of those too before making your decision. My opinion is just one of many.