The premise of the book--a teenage girl who will never venture outside--was intriguing. What made her this way? What happened in her life that she must stay within the confines of her home?
These questions were answered throughout the book, as the story weaves back and forth between the years 2002 and 2009, and between being told through chapters about the characters Molly, Hanna, and Claire. The book does a good job in showing the difficulty of having good relationships after traumatic events, the difficulty in healing from those events, and the slow process it takes to get there.
While the book kept me interested to the end, although there were some weak points:
- Molly and her mother are caretakers for a wax museum; this is too obvious of a symbol.
- When Molly and Claire run into each other in the museum and Claire stays to spend more time with Molly, the relationship feels much more forced than when Claire befriended the child Hanna. I also was expecting Molly to tell Claire everything before she explained her life to Tobias.
- Claire's insecurities in her marriage detract from the rest of the story. While they are entirely plausible, they just don't fit.
- Molly's mother was not a character one could really end up caring much about; it would have been good to have chapters from her perspective as well.
- It's not obvious what exactly happened to Hanna during the two weeks. While references to the possibility of rape are made, it just isn't clear if that happened or not (this is probably due to Christian readers wanting nice, neat stories without violence).
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish. I read so many non-fiction books for review that it was--pardon the pun--a breath of fresh air to read a novel for a change.