Holding My Breath
A NovelBook - 2007
In her beautifully wrought debut,Holding My Breath, author Sidura Ludwig crafts a bold yet tender coming-of-age tale of family, dreams, and the will to follow one's heart. The only child of a Canadian pharmacist and his wife, Beth Levy grows up with the understanding that expectations can develop early in people's lives, "even before they are born." With that, the little girl senses a responsibility to become the narrator of her family's history, piecing together snippets of conversation, half-told stories, and intimations that waft throughout her Manitoba homestead--her aunt Carrie's resolve to never marry, her grandmother's static grief over her deceased husband, the wanderlust of her young and vivacious aunt Sarah, and the death of her uncle Phil during World War II. But what she believes and what is true are as disparate as the three strong Jewish women that occupy Beth's house, life, and heart. Her mother, Goldie, the oldest sister, harbors a desire for social status that only results in a tacit disappointment, that nothing, not even her daughter, can assuage. Carrie, the middle one, possesses a gentle nature that masks a tragic countenance. The youngest, Sarah, still a teenager, stands poised to take on the world. While Beth seeks out the nurturing comfort of Carrie, who keeps Uncle Phil's memory alive and bestows upon Beth his love of the stars and planets, it is the rebellious spirit of Sarah that most entices the girl. As Beth matures into a young woman, the combination of her aunts' influences pits the old world of her mother's strictures against a new one of exploration and escape. This internal conflict will force Beth to make a difficult choice. With a voice as distinct as it is compelling,Holding My Breathcelebrates the bonds of family and its reassuring traditions as it affirms the uniqueness of the individual on uncharted paths.
Publisher: Toronto : Key Porter Books, 2007.
Characteristics: 270 p. ;,22 cm.