Breathe In

Tessa Benson is a Ph.D. librarian – smart and well-educated. Still, she falls victim to human sexual trafficking. How could this happen to such a smart person? Answer: it can happen to anyone.

In her award-winning book, Breathe In, Michelle Bellon explores not only human trafficking, but the importance of self-confidence in women, as well as the importance of being careful of who you date. In other words, if he treats you badly, walk away and don’t look back.

“Breathe In, breathe out” is a mantra taught to the timid Tessa by her therapist, and she uses it for any stressful situation. The description of Tessa’s treatment by her captors was graphic, and disgusting, but in order to be true to the reality of these crimes, it was necessary. The book is well-written, and flows smoothly. After the action began, I couldn’t put it down. I was glad to see a timid woman morph into a strong, angry female character who could not only fight back, but also stand up for herself and others.

For me, the identity of the bad guy was obvious almost immediately. He was making money, big money, in a way I had no idea existed – filming the abuse and murder of girls and women, then selling the videos. The thought that this actually happens is truly frightening. I thank Ms. Bellon for educating us about this atrocity with Breathe In. I will definitely be reading the work of this author again.

What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?

I expected poor grammar on the part of Tessa’s probably uneducated captors. However, poor grammar on the part of a character with a Ph.D., as well as the voice of the narrator is unacceptable:

  • “I wish I wouldn’t have…” instead of I” wish I hadn’t…” and “where it’s at…” instead of “where it is…”;
  • redundancies such as “contemplate over” instead of simply “contemplate”;
  • and of course, the all too common mistakes of confusing further and farther; split infinitives, and missing commas.

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