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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of A Watershed Year comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town's struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly's world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

©2014 Susan Schoenberger (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely story with no easy answers

The two main characters are women whose lives contain no easy answers. One is a young widowed mother working as a small town newspaper editor. The other lives in an iron lung as a result of childhood polio. Their lives intertwine through a unique friendship described in this lovely story. Humor and facing reality coexist for them, making this a very enjoyable read. The narrator does a great job with these two as well as the many other entertaining characters. I wish there was more oxygen to come...

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A very depressing book.

Holly, a recent widow with two small boys, struggles financially through the entire book. Holly is one of many in a community who helps care for Vivian, a polio victim restricted to an iron lung.
The book trudged on and on with one piece of bad news after another. The ending, which is meant to make reading the book worth the time, didn't.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not sure if this was based on a true story or not

Either way it is a fabulously written book. I will admit, I would be like a lot of people and wouldn't be able to handle seeing Viv on a daily basis. The strength in these women amaze me! Will definitely read more from this author!

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made me "29 yr old male who is a tough guy" cry.

this is my most favorite story ever. out of all the stories from all the media devices I have this is the best. just such a great message and gave me a paradigm shift. well worth the listen.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Ok, but I wanted a little bit more...maybe

This was free through Kindle Unlimited, so I can’t complain too much. And I did finish it—there was enough to keep me interested.

Vivian (in an iron lung—yes, there are still a few polio victims in them) was much more interesting than Holly, though a whole book from Vivian’s POV would have probably been too much. It is rather a credit to the author that she dug deep enough with Vivian’s character but didn’t go dark and depressing. Any time I actually paused to think about life in an iron lung, I just shuddered and wasn’t sure I wanted to keep listening. So there’s the rub. I feel like this should have been a more serious work of fiction, rather than a fairly lightweight novel that tackles many difficult subjects but seems to skate the surface for the most part. But if it had been darker and deeper, I don’t know that I would have finished.

The writing was adequate, but I think if it were just a little better, the book would have been a more engaging read/listen. Speaking of which, the audio narrators were quite good—especially the woman who narrated Vivian’s character.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Emotionally moving and uplifting

What did you love best about The Virtues of Oxygen?

The character of Vivien truly brought emotion to the story. The story has great heart, the characters are mostly sympathetic, and it was a heartwarming, entertaining story.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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inspired

liked it. thought provoking. makes you wonder how you would handle a situation as this. as a believer and follower of Jesus I would know the life lived here is not the end.....only the beginning.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Uplifting Story!

This story is about finding a way to trandsend life's challenges
I never wanted it to end.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well Worth It

Where does The Virtues of Oxygen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 25

What other book might you compare The Virtues of Oxygen to and why?

Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings due to quality of narration & story.

What does Tanya Eby and Laural Merlington bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Their narrative made the book compelling & enjoyable.

If you could rename The Virtues of Oxygen, what would you call it?

I would keep the title as is.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful