The Art of Breathing

The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles) - T.J. Klune I think I remember why I didn't write reviews for the last two books in this series: it's hard. If this is your first look at a review for this series or even this book, I'm sorry. And I advise you to run away to another one. I have no idea where this is going to go...

Ty. The Kid. He's a bit of a mess. This isn't a surprise. The 9-yo vegetarian eco-terrorist-in-training was always heading for some sort of meltdown. Luckily, this kid has the best support system anyone could ever hope for. Bear and Otter are amazing parents and have built an amazing family. And he has Dominic. *swoon* I don't know if it's wrong to be crushing on Dom, and I just don't care. We met him as a teen in Who We Are, and he stole my heart then. This is a special guy in so very many ways.

This book gave me feels. There were teary feels and laugh out loud and OMG and ok, stop talking feels. And the former allows me to excuse the latter. These are patterns I'm getting from this series and Tell Me It's Real. Klune has me laughing my ass off and shedding tears, and I find I forget about the bits where the narrator wanders off down a path of word babble. And it's some epic babble. It's not only self-recognized by the characters, the babble is almost it's own character in the stories. Sometimes it's endearing. Sometimes I find myself skimming.

So maybe let's talk about the writing. I know it gives me all the feels. And I've figured out that contributes to by squee. But how do I REALLY feel? Occasionally frustrated. There's incredible talent behind these words. Of that, I have no doubt. Love them or hate them, I don't see how you can't have emotional responses to these characters. And that takes skill. I'm invested. So there's the talent. There's also repetition. OMG is there repetition. Subtle, this is not. You will be beat over the head with the concept of breathing and inevitable and a host of other things. Prepare yourself.

When I read, Tell Me It's Real, I laughed my ass off. I also cried like a baby. And then I said, ""it's minus 1 star for 'vagina'"". I stand by it then, and boy do I stand by it now. Because the guys from Tuscon are back to visit here, and Paul came packing his foul mouth and misogynistic ""p*ssy"" jokes. While that's part of his character, the author takes a direct shot at his critics aka readers:
""You sure talk about vaginas a lot for gay guys,"" Kori points out. ""People might start to think your misogynistic or something.""
Paul waves him off. ""Oh please. If you think that means I hate women, you really need to lighten the fuck up. It's a joke. People who get offended that easily are probably the same people who complain on the Internet about everything under the sun.""

Well, look at that. Direct shot and...miss. Because I'm not someone who complains about everything under the sun, and I find all the vagina jokes offensive and annoying. So I'll excuse the rambling and somewhat shoddy editing, because I enjoy the feels. I'll excuse the fact this book is likely 100 pages longer than it has any right to be (and geez where is the publisher on this??), because any author who can make me laugh and cry is worth my time. What I don't find excusable? Mocking your readers. Because that's who WE are. Some of us happen to be women. And some of those women don't want to read a guy going on and on about how every feeling emasculates him DOWN to a vagina. A gaping bloody whole bunch of not funny right there.

I'm not going to tell anyone not to read this. In fact, I'll probably reread all of these again, and I'll read what's next. Because I do like the writing overall, and I like the feels a bunch. I'll read the next, because Seafare is a good place to be, and I'm not going to hold one misogynistic moment against the entirety of the book. I'm just taking a moment here to say THAT moment sucked. And was painful in a wholly unnecessary and hurtful way towards readers.