Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breathing Lessons” as Want to Read:
Breathing Lessons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breathing Lessons

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  20,028 Ratings  ·  1,143 Reviews
Maggie and Ira Moran have been married for twenty-eight years–and it shows: in their quarrels, in their routines, in their ability to tolerate with affection each other’s eccentricities. Maggie, a kooky, lovable meddler and an irrepressible optimist, wants nothing more than to fix her son’s broken marriage. Ira is infuriatingly practical, a man “who should have married Ann ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breathing Lessons, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Breathing Lessons

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Glenn Sumi
I finished reading Anne Tyler’s Breathing Lessons a week ago, but I found myself thinking about it a lot, especially during the recent holidays.

Tyler’s specialty is family and marriage, and while sitting down to countless meals, chatting with parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, extended relatives and seeing little grievances and grudges pop up and then be gently patted back down, hearing current events be analyzed in smart or odd or even offensive ways, seeing patterns (some good, some
...more
Rebbie
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Dnf @ 24%

I cannot get into this book. I don't understand how this won a Pulitzer...
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Pulitzer
Shelves: pulitzer, drama
Breathing Lessons is about a couple, Maggie and Ira, who has been married for 28 years. Their son, Jesse, a father of a toddler, is facing a divorce. Their teenage daughter, Daisy is about to enter college so their house is now an empty nest.

Life is a journey and, for a spouse like me, marriage is that part of the journey where you are somebody paddling the boat with you. My daughter is also heading to college a couple of months from now. Although she will be still be staying with us, I know tha
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Did they really give her the Pulitzer for this thing?! How utterly appalling! This may qualify as the stupidest book I have ever read. I did not like even one of the characters. Not one! They were annoying and weak and petty.
I really wanted to hurl Maggie from the highest bridge just to get her to SHUT UP!
Dumb dumb dumb dumb story. Shouldn't have bothered to finish it, but I did. So...more fool me.
Nancy
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When reviewing books with others--whether in text-based or face to face discussions--I am always irritated when readers don't like a book because they "don't like" certain characters in the book. I want to remind them that a) these people are, umm, fictional and b) a diverse mix of characters drives a story, makes it interesting. The truly gifted author fashions characters with weaknesses and flaws as well as strengths and charming bits--the fun is in watching the interplay. When a reader doesn' ...more
Fabian
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We can essentially classify Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winners into three categories: the epic ("Age of Innocence," "Gone with the Wind," "Grapes of Wrath," "Confederacy of Dunces," "Lonesome Dove," "Amazing Adventures with Kavalier and Clay," "Middlesex"), the deeply personal ("Rabbit Is Rich," "Rabbit at Rest," "American Pastoral, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," "Olive Kitteridge"), and the "personal epic" ("Beloved," "The Hours," "Interpreter of Maladies," "The Road," "A Visit from th ...more
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: Everyone knows a couple like the Morans. Maggie, with her scatterbrained ways and her just slightly irritating – but good-hearted – attempts to make everything right for everyone.... And Ira, infinitely patient, who is addicted to solitaire and who whistles out popular tunes, the only barometer of his moods. They’ve learned all there is to know about each other ... two ordinary lives in a comfortably routine marriage. But on the road to a friend’s funeral, they make some un ...more
Helynne
May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed The Accidental Tourist so much that I was surprised that I found this book by Anne Tyler so much less enjoyable. Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1989, which is a amazing honor. To tell you the truth, I can't really see that much merit in this book, although I will admit that Tyler's writing style is skillful. Nevertheless, this novel reminded me a little of Gustave Flaubert's philosophy when he began writing Madame Bovary. He said, "I want to write a book about ...more
Kim

This novel is a day in the life Maggie and Ira Moran, who have been married for 28 years. They start the day by attending a friend’s funeral and end it by dealing with the consequences of Maggie’s unstoppable impulse to involve herself in other peoples’ lives. Although the action of the novel is contained within that one day, the narrative explores the relationship between Maggie and Ira as they reflect upon their lives and their marriage.

Tyler is immensely skilled at creating memorable charact
...more
Bev
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this one a while back but wanted to make sure I added it to my list to round out the other Tyler books I have read recently. This book is a perfect example of Tyler's gift for characterizing everyday, ordinary people as flawed yet endearing in their quirkiness. Yes, Maggie can be awfully irritating in her botched attempts to fix things in the lives of her loved ones, yet you can't help but love her for her sincerity and goodness of heart. Her relationship with her long-time husband Ira is ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Tackling the Puli...: Breathing Lessons (Anne Tyler, 1989) 7 18 Jan 18, 2018 08:26PM  
Play Book Tag: Breathing Lessons / Anne Tyler - 4**** 1 11 Feb 01, 2017 08:33AM  
All About Books: Week 96 - Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler 13 31 Jul 22, 2015 04:09PM  
  • The Store
  • In This Our Life
  • The Able McLaughlins
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
  • Elbow Room
  • Guard of Honor
  • Honey in the Horn
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • Years of Grace
  • Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
  • Now in November
  • Journey in the Dark
  • The Town
  • Dragon's Teeth I (World's End)
  • His Family
  • The Late George Apley
  • The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
457
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. She has published 20 novels, her debut novel being If Morning Ever Comes in (1964)

The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was a
...more
More about Anne Tyler...
“I mean you're given all these lessons for the unimportant things--piano-playing, typing. You're given years and years of lessons in how to balance equations, which Lord knows you will never have to do in normal life. But how about parenthood? Or marriage, either, come to think of it. Before you can drive a car you need a state-approved course of instruction, but driving a car is nothing, nothing, compared to living day in and day out with a husband and raising up a new human being.” 21 likes
“Smells could bring a person back clearer than pictures even could.” 9 likes
More quotes…