Dona's Reviews > Learning to Breathe: One Woman's Journey of Spirit and Survival

Learning to Breathe by Alison Wright
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it

Despite the cheesy title and subtitle, this is the story of a remarkable woman, her incredible energy, experiences and grit. Alison Wright is a photojournalist who specializes in documenting the plight of underprivileged children throughout the world. In 2000, Wright survived being a victim in a debilitating bus accident in which all of her major organs were shoved up under her left shoulder. Because the bus collision happened on a rural mountanside in Laos, she didn't receive real medical attention nor anesthesia for fourteen hours after the accident. Her almost impossible survival and subsequent endurance through a difficult convalescence reminded me of Aaron Ralston (Between a Rock and a Hard Place/127 Hours--as does her chronic risk-taking and grit in the face of adversity--but her selflessness and self-questioning replace Ralston's cocky egotism. Likewise, Wright's participation in eastern religion and search for enlightenment is reminscient of Elizabeth Gilbert's in Eat, Pray, Love, but minus the self-absorption and incessant focus on romantic relationships. Wright seems to be a true bodhisattva--transforming a fear of intimacy created by negative childhood experiences into an insatiable appetite for experience and helping others.
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