Blog Tour | Book Review: The Benefits of Breathing by Christopher Meeks

In The Benefits of Breathing, Meeks dives again into the human condition, particularly within relationships.

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The Benefits of Breathing front cover

In The Benefits of Breathing, Meeks dives again into the human condition, particularly within relationships. As one reader wrote on Amazon, “Some authors need a lot of words to describe their worlds and their people. Christopher Meeks says a lot with a little.” 

The Los Angeles Times has called his stories “poignant and wise.” In this volume, “A Dog Story” captures a crumbled marriage and the love of a dog named Scrappy. “Joni Paredes” shows the birth of a new relationship that starts at a daughter’s wedding. “Nestor by the Numbers” follows one man’s often hilarious online dating experiences after he finally accepts his wife is gone. “Jerry with a Twist” shows an actor on an audition while his pregnant girlfriend helps him through a crisis. These and seven other stories will bring you into the special world of Meeks.

As author James Jordan on Goodreads “My reward for reading Christopher Meeks’s marvelous collection of eleven stories, The Benefits of Breathing, was no less than an epiphany about great literature generally and specifically an insight into why this compendium of short fiction is great literature. ”      

“If you like Raymond Carver,” said author David Scott Milton, “you’ll love Meeks.”

My Thoughts

The Benefits of Breathing is an interesting collection of short stories, all revolving around relationships. I was surprised to find how different each story is from the others, in plot, style, and tone. It was hard to believe that the same author wrote all these stories.

The only thing common among all the stories is that each will make you think deeply about it. Some are sad, others are happy–but all are thought-provoking. I found myself taking breaks after each story to think about what I’d just read and the different angles to it.

The stories do not have what I’d call a clean ending–plenty of “what ifs” floating around–and that adds to the sense of mystique in them.

Thought-provoking, interesting, well-written collection!

(I received an e-ARC from Blackthorn Book Tours with a request for an honest review.)

About Christopher Meeks

Christopher Meeks photo

Christopher Meeks first published short fiction in a number of literary journals, and the stories are available in award-winning collections, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea and Months and Seasons. This third collection, The Benefits of Breathing, was published this year.

In between writing short stories, he’s focused on novels. The Brightest Moon of the Century centers on a man who yearns for love and success, covering over thirty years—a tale that Marc Schuster of Small Press Reviews describes as “a great and truly humane novel in the tradition of Charles Dickens and John Irving.” His next novel, Love at Absolute Zero, focuses on a physicist who uses the tools of science to find his soul mate–and he has just three days to do it. Blood Drama has Meeks edge into a thriller. Most recently, A Death in Vegas is a mystery. Now he’s joined Army veteran Samuel Gonzalez, Jr., for a visceral tour of Iraq with the men and women on the front lines in Baqubah in The Chords of War. It’s about a musician, kicked out of his own band, joining the Army for discipline. He plunges into the horrors of combat. He tries to hold on with his music.  

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