• Title: The Benefits of Breathing
  • Author: Christopher Meeks
  • Publisher: White Whisker Books on May 23, 2020
  • Genre: Short Story Collection (Fiction)
  • Pages: 199
  • Formats Available: Paperback, Audiobook, & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Death, Divorce, Some Violence

Many thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours, Christopher Meeks, and White Whisker Books for providing me with a digital copy of The Benefits of Breathing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

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The Benefits of Breathing Blurb

As Roderick Clark says in the Foreword, “It’s all about love, isn’t it?

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.”

Provided by Blackthorn Book Tours for use with this tour

My Review

I have always loved short stories. Reading them brings me the instant gratification I enjoy, but I stink at writing them. So, when I find some great ones, I have to shout about them from the rooftops. Christopher Meeks gave me a fabulous collection of heart-wrenching stories that I will often revisit.

I found something in this collection that I have never seen in another anthology. Meeks put his book together to make a forward progression. The stories are all very different but follow the same path of unrequited love and loss. The true beauty of it, though, is that the first stories are almost angry in the face of their loss. As the book moves on, the reader follows a road from anger to acceptance and finally to hope.

So many of these stories have found a place in my heart. I can’t let go of them, but the one that crushed me emotionally was the title story, The Benefits of Breathing. This story came out of the blue and resonated with my own life in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It punched me in the chest and knocked the breath out of me. It hurt so much.

I encourage everyone to read this anthology. The beauty inside this book will touch your life and allow you to find hope through all the grey. For this and so much more, I award The Benefits of Breathing a full 5 out of 5 stars. I beg of you. Please read this book.

About the Author – Christopher Meeks

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.  

Author Links: Web Page | Twitter | Facebook

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  1. Oh, these stories look like they go straight for the heart. With all the lengthy stories constantly coming out, this book looks like a refreshing one to keep an eye on!

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