Jus Breathe - Book Review

Jus Breathe

Author: B. Lynn Carter
Genre: Fiction - Cultural
Publisher: Liminal Books
Date Published: October 11, 2022
ISBN-10: N/A
ISBN-13: N/A

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Book Review of :  Jus Breathe


Jus Breathe by B. Lynn Carter will leave the reader breathless. The author introduces several wonderfully unique characters who struggle to discover their untapped strength. The coming-of-age story of Dawn, a young black woman in the 1960s, reads like a memoir as Dawn relates her physical, spiritual, and emotional struggles to survive in New York City. She shares flashbacks of growing up, remembering traumas that cause her to breathe erratically. Distrustful of family, friends, and her own self-worth, she discovers and hides a split personality. As she struggles to believe in herself, she must confront and overcome the inner voices that try to control her.

Deep in her memory are the words of her grandmother telling her to be “master of your own mind.” She struggles within herself when at sixteen, she finds herself homeless. Through perseverance and a strong will, she graduates from high school and is accepted into City College New York in the SEEK program (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge). With the help of new friends, she tries to reinvent herself and have a “do-over.” 

Friendships and toxic relationships add to the drama in this down-to-earth, mesmerizing, and enthralling novel. Conflict is developed as Dawn exhibits strong conflicting emotions, intensified by her immaturity and low self-esteem. A unifying theme throughout the story is Dawn’s love for music. Both melodic and discordant sounds permeate her world, with the lyrics of many 60’s pop tunes playing a part in tying the story together.

Dawn’s debilitating reality of not being able to breathe is both physical and emotional and is a threat to her survival. Thus, the title, Jus Breathe. She considers herself “a thing” or “nothing.” Throughout her maturing, she struggles with her grandmother’s wisdom to consider “Who is who?” and “Who are you?” 

Dawn is caught up in a one-sided romance. Her desire for the stability of a family leads her to impulsive measures to solidify romance into something permanent. She desperately tries to overcome the discord in the relationship, adding drama to the plot.

In Carter’s powerful and emotional story, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King is vividly portrayed. Readers will be gripped by the disbelief and anger that accompanies this tragic event. The profound sense of loss and the desperate struggle to find meaning in the midst of such tragedy is intricately woven into the narrative. Dawn and her friends grapple with the overwhelming sadness that engulfs them. Carter creates a haunting exploration of the human experience in the face of senseless violence.

Also, in the narrative, Dawn recounts the harrowing experience of witnessing a basement abortion performed with nothing but a simple knitting needle. The account is captivating but hauntingly disturbing.

A takeaway from this memorable book is two statements: “What is so.”  “What is not so.” Such simple declarative sentences will haunt the reader to question conflicts and decisions in his life. Questions about the meaning of family dynamics, home, and tolerance are explored, as well as toxic relationships. This fiction is a winner for readers who demand character growth as well as expressive dialogue.

Jus Breathe with its sharply drawn characters, exuberant prose, and plenty of period detail made you feel like you stepped back in time watching the daily struggles and triumphs right beside Dawn. Watch for another intriguing read by this new novelist. 

Reviewed by: carole

About B. Lynn Carter


Born and raised in the Bronx, I earned a BA in creative writing from The City College of New York. I?ve had short stories published in Ascent Aspirations, The Blue Lake review, Enhance Magazine, The Drunk Monkey, The Story Shack, and others. My short story ?One Wild Ride,? published by Aaduna magazine, was nominated for the Pushcart award in 2014. My short story "Las Sinverquenzas" was republished in Querencia Press's fall?22 anthology. My second novel ?The Eyes Have It? won the first-place prize in fiction for The Black Writers Workspace "Chapter One" competition. My debut novel ?Jus Breathe? was launched on October 11th. 2022. ?The Eyes Have It,? is scheduled for release in late 2024.

Visit https://www.lynncarterbxwriter.com for more information on B. Lynn Carter


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