Breathing For a Living by Laura Rothenberg
A Memoir

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Synopsis

A moving account by an extraordinary young woman who mounts a daily struggle with cystic fibrosis in an effort to lead an ordinary life.

Twenty-one-year-old Laura Rothenberg has always tried to live a normal life--even with lungs that betray her, and a sober awareness that she may not live to see her next birthday. Like most people born with cystic fibrosis, the chronic disease that affects lungs and other organs, Rothenberg struggles to come to grips with a life that has already been compromised in many ways. Sometimes healthy and able to go to school, other times hospitalized for months on end, Rothenberg finds solace in keeping a diary. In her writing, she can be open, honest, and irreverent, like the young person she is. Yet mixed in with this voice is an incredible maturity about her mortality.

The memoir opens with Rothenberg's decision to accept a lung transplant. From the waiting--and all it implies to the surgery, recovery, and her new life, Rothenberg muses on mortality in journal entries and poetry. Through it all, she reveals a will and temperament that is strong and wise despite her years.

Laura Rothenberg's story, recorded and shared on NPR's Radio Diaries, was awarded the prestigious Third Coast Audio Festival Award, it also received an unprecedented listener response and generated more e-mail than any other story the producers could recall. Rothenberg's story was also featured in the New York Times and U.S. News & World Report.
 

About Laura Rothenberg

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Rothenberg attended Brown University, and was born and raised in New York City.
 
Published July 9, 2003 by Hyperion. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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A student at Brown, she swims, loves writing, and has numerous friends, but, as she notes, “here I am at college, and I can’t write about the future.” Her pancreas doesn’t function, she must take insulin, her lungs are congested, and she can’t have children.

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Publishers Weekly

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"I'm a typical college student, if there is such a thing," writes Rothenberg in this far from typical work.

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Entertainment Weekly

Alas, Laura Rothenberg was wildly optimistic when she referred to herself, on the eve of her 19th birthday, as middle-aged.

Jul 25 2003 | Read Full Review of Breathing For a Living: A Memoir

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