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Holding My Breath: A Novel
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Holding My Breath: A Novel

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  94 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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 g
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published March 1st 2007)
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Aug 21, 2011 Pooker rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, winnipeg, fiction
This was a light and pleasant read. A good effort by a young, first-time novelist.

As a Winnipeg resident, it was delightful to be able to "place" everyone and their comings and goings on streets and locations familiar to me in and around the city.

It was also a personal (and perhaps peculiar) pleasure, as a non-Jew, to see certain Yiddish and Hebrew words in print. Having heard such words as Shabbos, shtetl, yichud, and yartzeit pronounced, I wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to spell them.

Shonna Froebel
Dec 17, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This book takes place in Winnipeg after World War II, and the characters are part of the Jewish community in the city. The narrator is Beth Levy, an only child. She grows up in a household where they are often other family members living, including her grandmother and aunts.
Beth's mother has aspirations to own a particular home and take a leading role in the Jewish community. Her aunt Carrie shares story of Beth's uncle Phil, who died in the war. Carrie alters clothes for women in the community,
Jun 12, 2015 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beth Levy is an only child growing up with her aunts Carrie and Sarah almost as sisters. The story revolves around the three of them and Beth's mother Goldie and the young dreams they had and the lives they made for themselves. This is basically a coming of age tale nicely handled. Secrets hidden when Beth is a child are slowly revealed in a timely fashion. The narrative is smooth, and flows along quickly. A good summer read.
Nov 07, 2011 Tahira rated it liked it
There were some aspects of this novel that I liked and there were some descriptions of moments, settings, feelings and objects that I appreciated, but for the most part, I didn't feel as though it came together in the most cohesive way. Perhaps this is because I felt as though the timing of the novel was somewhat awkward and the development of the story did not follow a clearly structured path. I imagine this stems from the fact that the entirety of the novel was written after a short story whic ...more
May 15, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an okay book, and an easy read. I liked the relationship that she and Sarah had when she was young, and her connection to Uncle Phil. I also liked that although it was written in first person, she knew about other peoples thoughts and things that she wasn't around for, based on what she had been told after the fact. It was a good twist on first person.

What I didn't like was Aunt Sarah's eventual abandonment (I felt that it should have been wrapped up better: what is she up to now?) What c
Kathleen McRae
I liked this story of a Jewish girl growing up in Winnipeg. It was a bit wordy with dialogue at times and rather slow moving but had an interesting look at Jewish life and family dynamics.
Sidura was in a writer's group with me for a while in the early noughties. She wrote a story called 'Holding My Breath Underwater' there which became a chapter in this well written book. She's gone back to Canada now but came over last year for the British launch of this title. This is set in Winipeg, a family/growing up book which as Margaret Forster says on the cover is a 'pleasure to read'.
Sandi Altner
I grew up in Winnipeg so I appreciate the detail about locations and lifestyle in Sidura Ludwig's lovely coming of age novel. This is a gentle story with likable people you would be pleased to have as neighbours. It captures a time and community attitudes that ring true in a breezy set of snapshots of daily life. I like her style and hope she continues to publish additional books.
Jun 30, 2009 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2-1/2 stars. Interesting, but not gripping. I typically like 1st person narratives, but this one was a little much for me--projecting feelings and experiences about people before she was even born, for instance. If told from the 3rd person, it would have been believable. Don't particularly recommend.
Oct 17, 2014 Jenni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely read. Written as a stream of consciousness story, it ambled along through the life of a girl growing up and Celt with real family struggles and triumphs. It was refreshing and heart warming and reminded me to count my blessings and be thankful for my family.
Dec 03, 2010 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spanning three decades against the backdrop of the Jewish community in the North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Holding My Breath is a coming of age novel that centers around a young girl named Beth Levy.Interesting, but not gripping---enjoyable but certainly not memorable.
Lisa Lesyshen
Dec 14, 2009 Lisa Lesyshen rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely story that I loved. I am not sure why I liked it so much but it was written beautifully and the story was compelling yet simple. This is her first novel.
Apr 06, 2009 Lila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A touching story encompassing several generations of a Jewish family in Manitoba. Focuses on the women's struggle for independence and the right to pursue their dreams.
Jan 12, 2013 snishi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not particularly spectacular, but somehow hit the right spot when I read it. Not a difficult read; actually read it in one day.
Nothing amazing here, but it was an interesting look at family relationships and expectations.
Enjoyable and fast to read, but not very memorable
Beth rated it it was amazing
May 05, 2016
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