Kimmy's Reviews > Barely Breathing

Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan
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's review
May 22, 12

did not like it
bookshelves: boring-characters, crapbook

** spoiler alert ** I think I will act as a teacher/counselor for today. So class, let's do a recap here:
The first book tells readers about how Emma faces domestic abuse at home. She gets hit, locked up, smashed with glass, strangled and almost killed. (But somehow she manages to get a flawless four-point-ohmygod,really? GPA, plays soccer, basketball and another varsity sport so professionally that she is scouted by top-ranked universities like *gasp, Stanford! and is so freaking beautiful that lots of guys secretly have a crush on her.

Now, class, let us study the second book in detail. Emma moves in with her mother to start a new life. Seems great, right?

No, the story repeats itself. Save for that Emma has to cope with her mother's quirky antics and there is another dude in the all-ever present love triangle (with Emma being fought for by two hot guys, of course), everything is the same. Evan keeps on having to articulate and assure Emma of his love. Emma whines and scrounges wtihout ever taking concrete action towards her own life. And the cycle goes on and on and on... till even the third book?! What the hell? How can readers cope with that?

I was ok with the first book. Emma's situation was pitiful, and her acts of trying to assert that she is perfectly fine was in fact cynical insinuations of complaints in themselves. Have you ever talked to, say, girls who say that they're fat and should diet and eat too much just to fish for compliments and so that others would assure such girls that they're not? The first book felt marginally like that. The second book felt just like that, and worse. I got so fed up for this reason right since the first chapter of Barely Breathing. So you can imagine up to what heights my irritation escalated when I came to the end of the book. And why do you think there's even a third book coming out? Yep, because Emma, after being treated so badly in the first book, does not want to give up her lifestyle and does horrible things just to prove her point that life is horrid for her and she deserves so much more (such as pity) and readers need to kiss her big fat *** (I can't believe I said that; I blame this book for driving me to such strong emotions). And such ending for Barely Breathing has something to do with Evan. Yeah, you guessed.

So my dear students, what have we learnt today?

My advice to (the hypocritically stoic) Emma:
Seriously, I am almost hoping that you hold your breath and stop breathing eternally. I am so done with your whining. Readers and Evan will send you a big fat luxurious bouquet of flowers to your funeral and you will have garnered all our sympathy, and you have successfully proved that you were in depression, and of course, spare readers all our time and efforts. You know, try to be selfless and all? Noblesse oblige?
I cannot think much more advice for you, dear Emma. Stop generating and believing in your self-fulfilling prophecy that life is unfair and hard. You can try optimism and positive thinking for once, you know. Count your blessings that you got into Stanford, get good grades magically without needing to study and that you have such an unreasonably loving boyfriend who is willing to put up with you. And shut up!

My advice to Evan:
You are stupider than I thought. I am actively disappointed in you. You are a bad judge of character. Dump any girl who is so unappreciative of your undivided attention and sacrifice. Move on. Enough said.

My advice for Sara:
You should go for sex education classes. And I think you are a bad friend. Which friend says to her other best friend:
She (Sara) stopped. "Omigod. You had sex."
My (Emma) entire body flushed, and no matter how hard I tried not to, a huge smile spread across my face.
"I can't believe it," she gaped, rushing over to hug me. Then she barraged me with, "Did it hurt? Did you... uh, bleed? Are you sore? How do you feel?" "Um," I stared at her in shock before I fumbled, "Just a little... no... yes... and..." I smiled wide with my cheeks aglow; I didn't even have to answer the last question.
She squealed proudly, "I can't believe you had sex! This is so amazing. It gets better, I promise." Then she rolled her eyes in frustration, "And I'm so mad at you right now because we don't have time for you to tell me all the details."
Fine, so I grew up in an Asian family. I am more traditional than most people. But I think sex before/at a mere eighteen should NEVER, EVER be encouraged. What the hell were Sara and the author thinking? You want to breed an entire generation of pregnant teens who will grow up into receptacles of MCPs' bodily fluids and depend on "loving" spouses for financial support while the wives sit at home, brood over how loving their husbands are and satisfy the husbands' sexual appetite whenever it is called for? I hate that Sara and the author are trying to enforce their view to readers that sex is a safe pastime. Sex is not a form of entertainment. It is a responsibility, for the very action has serious repercussions. God you pro-male chauvinistic people.

Universities and law-makers:
I think you should insert a new clause stating that books cannot simply use the real names of universities in books, be it fiction or not. It is an utter insult and defamation, that such a half-wit self-absorbed dumb girl like Emma could get into Stanford. You universities can definitely win the lawsuit.

My dear class of readers:
I think I have made it very clear that the lesson of today is that you should never embark on Barely Breathing so you would have no need to attend this class. Barely Breathing is sheer crap with no literary significance or story morals or lessons, save that ironically, the what can be learnt from this book is that there is nothing to be learnt at all. See class? This literary tone is call irony. Another learning point.
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