Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict

Title: Breathe- A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict
Author: Kelly Kittel
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: She Reads Press
Release Date: May 14/2014
Acquired:  Print copy send by author
Goodreads: ADD

Kelly Kittel never questioned her Mayflower Society mantra—“Family is the most important thing”—until the day her fifteen-month-old son was run over by her sixteen-year-old niece. Nine months later, Kittel’s doctor made a terrible mistake during her subsequent pregnancy and she found herself burying yet another baby. Caught up in the maelstrom of a malpractice lawsuit, Kittel and her husband battle not only the medical system, but their own relatives, in the courtroom. As their family tree begins to topple, the Kittels struggle to nourish the roots of their young family and find healing. Achingly raw and beautifully narrated, Breathe is a story of motherhood, death, and family in the face of unspeakable tragedy and, ultimately, how she learns to breathe again.


"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 who 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 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 MINUSCULE 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.

P.S. I also highly, highly suggest checking out Kelly's blog HERE. It was such a pleasure to put faces to the names, and Kelly's blog posts are extremely interesting, and well-written. 



CLICK HERE to read all about Kelly on her ABOUT ME page!

Contact Links


Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to the author for kindly sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Reeka!! Holy cow. I guess you liked it?? LOL

    It isn’t often I am moved to tears by a review, but you did that to me. I have the book on my desktop (pdf) but wasn’t sure if it was one I could read as the mom of a brand new teen driver. I’m still not sure if I can but one day I will.

    Thank you so much for being on the tour!

  2. Me too, Lisa MM, me too. This review popped up just as my husband and I finished our beach walk yesterday and we sat in the car crying as I struggled to read it aloud. Then I came home and listened to Halo while I read it again. Then I sent it out to my family and attempted to regain my sense of speech but decided to sit with it a bit longer before attempting to express myself here. This, folks, is what a review should look and feel like and I wanted to write a song or a poem or an Ode to Reeka, something befitting of this most excellent reviewer and yet another reason why I love Canadians! So stay tuned for that.

    Glowing praise very much appreciated but aside, Reeka truly understood this book and was able to express herself from that deeper level. When two strangers can wrap their hearts around each other like tree roots in a forest and breathe, together, that is amazing. That is grace. That is what this story-telling life is all about. Some are afraid to read this book, afraid perhaps to cry, to feel, but this review tells them exactly what I'd want them to know. As Castenada says, “You must feel everything, otherwise the world loses its meaning.” We have to share our pain as well as our joy for, indeed, we cannot truly know one without embracing the other.

    When you are ready to take this journey, to Breathe, I will be with you every single word of the way. This book is a love song to my children and I'm moved beyond belief that Reeka not only heard me singing, but allowed herself to hum along. Amen.

    1. So, now that I've used my Google account to sign in, I see that I should probably clarify that I've been commenting here as Kelly Kittel, the author of this book, in case you don't recognize me riding my bike on the beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica or know about my unfortunate alliterative initials which shall never be monogrammed on towels, anywhere.


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