October 15, 2008

October Book Discussion: The Mystery of Breathing by Perri Klass

For the month of October I chose the book The Mystery of Breathing by Perri Klass for our book discussion. I chose this book for two reasons. My husband is a pediatric resident and at the time I chose the book was working in the NICU and because my son spent sometime in the NICU when he was first born. When I read that the main character was a neonatal physician I got excited and knew it was a book I would have to read.

A recap of the book for those who have not read it yet:

An impassioned and gifted neonatal physician, Dr. Maggie Claymore fights for the lives of her newborn patients with a fierceness that has gained her the devotion of worried parents and sometimes the ire of her colleagues. Maggie is just shy of forty, and her career is on the rise: she is on the verge of receiving a coveted promotion at a prestigious Boston research hospital. That is, until an anonymous hate campaign calls her credentials and her ethics into question, threatening to destroy her professional reputation. Suspicion and doubt begin to shade all of her relationships, from her professional connections to her own blissful marriage. Worst of all, the rumors surrounding her begin to shake her deepest sense of who she is.

  1. Were you able to connect with Maggie?
  2. Did knowing about Maggie's childhood change the perspective you had of her?
  3. What did you think of the way the author revealed who the behind the hate campaign?
  4. Maggie discribes the hospital environment as a "man's world", do you agree? Not?
  5. Do you think that effected the effort in finding the person responsible for the hate campaign?
I tried to contact the author to ask her some questions but my email was returned as spam and none of the links on her website work.

I'm anxious to hear what you all thought and will post my opinions in the comments section a little later.


  1. I enjoyed this book for the most part, but I'm already forgetting many of the details.

    To be honest, I didn't really connect with Maggie. I'm not emotional in the same way she is, and probably wouldn't have responsed to that situation like she did.

  2. Wow, time keeps getting away from me. I can't believe we're doing the Oct. book discussion already, I haven't even looked for the book yet. I read the Sept. one but never got around to posting my thoughts on it. Argh. Good thing I already read the Nov. one.

  3. I had high exceptions for this book and felt very let down. I found it kind of boring and had to force myself to even finish the book.

    My main compliant is that the book didn't make me feel anything. I didn't feel angry or scared when Maggie first started getting the hate letters. I wasn't mad when Maggie didn't get the promotion she wanted or happy when she found out she was pregnant.

    I also didn't like the way the person behind the hate letters was reveled and the fact that Maggie never had any closure. I felt like I didn't have any closure with the book.

    The book wasn't bad, it just wasn't something I enjoyed.

  4. You summed up my feelings on it well, Courtney. I didn't particularly care what happened to her.

  5. I haven't been able to find this book at my library. Urgh!


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

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