[Reading] ➳ Breath ➻ Martha Mason – Motyourdrive.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Breath

  1. says:

    Martha Mason has a lively style, an abounding vocabulary, and never lingers on unpleasant topics long enough to depress She obviously had a charismatic personality, as well as keen intelligence Her will to live, to succeed, and to excel are amazing However, these alone do not a great book make.Even though Breath is promoted as a tribute to Martha Mason s helpers, it seems to me a self tribute to her own indomitable spirit and insatiable quest for knowledge The fact that she was valedictorian in high school, junior college, and at Wake Forest is impressive But she couldn t have managed any of this without her mother giving up her own life to be her daughter s amanuensis, handmaiden, nurse, and companion Yet at college graduation the best she can say is, My mother had done her job well Even though her entire family were devout Christians, she didn t have the genes to believe what they lived out in her presence She believed only in herself While she claimed to be and I m sure she was grateful to her many caregivers, she missed no opportunity to point out their short comings especially poor Ginger s in addition to their virtues She was the center of her own universe which is understandable considering what her physical universe consisted of but it s a shame that her universe didn t include anything or anyone greater than herself.As a memoir and not a full autobiography the book leaves many questions unanswered, among which are Where did the money for all the equipment, food, helpers, and other medical care come from How did it feel inside that iron lung What can one learn from this book Very little, I m afraid The feeling I was left with is that only Martha Mason could have accomplished what she did It was her spirit, her intelligence, and her will power that kept her going all those years She was, right from the beginning, an extraordinary person locked inside an inert body She never tells us that she learned, grew, or in any way improved throughout her life, leaving us nothing we could apply to our lives This could have been a great inspiration, but is really only an interesting story.

  2. says:

    A very sweet and poignant story of a young woman who contracted polio at age 12 and spent the rest of her life in an iron lung Although her sharp mind and love of words are amazing, the real hero of the story is her mother, who cared for Martha all of her life and also went to school with her, making it possible for Martha to finish high school and graduate from Gardner Webb and Wake Forest The main issue I have with this book is the order in which the story was told, in a non linear, counter intuitive manner that rather confused me I found it sad that Martha had a wonderful example of faith in her mother s relationship with Christ, yet blithely dismissed it herself with the words the traditional faith of our fathers isn t in my genes Despite overcoming such crushing obstacles and living her life with joy, Martha missed out on the most important thing of all.

  3. says:

    I got this book free through Goodreads First Reads I thought the subject sounded interesting, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book By the end of the book, I found myself feeling that I truly knew Martha Mason I felt she was a person I would have loved to have been able to meet, and was saddened to read that she had passed away in 2009 What an amazing person I loved reading about her relationship with her mother and was touched deeply by their devotion and love for each other Even though I had expected to finish this book feeling sorry for Martha, I didn t I couldn t I ended envying her and her wonderful, rich life I am now left anxious to know about her I hope her passing was peaceful she was with those who loved her I am so grateful for having been introduced to this remarkable woman I think this is a book just about any reader would enjoy.

  4. says:

    When Martha Mason was 12 years old, her doctor told her, You ll die soon, and only 59 years later, she proved him right This is the life story of the woman who lived longer than any other known individual in an iron lung, written by the quadriplegic author with the help of voice activated software And if you are younger than 50, you will have no idea what I am talking about An iron lung was a type of permanent respirator that, when I saw pictures of them as a child, looked to me like coffins for the living huge and terrifying This book portrays small town life in the late 1940 s and 50 s, reminds us how blessed we are to live free of the scourge of polio Hurrah for Jonas Salk , celebrates the power of faith, friendship, and community, and chronicles the tale of an ordinary family s tragedy within a week, polio killed the author s brother and left her paralyzed from the neck down which, in the end, proved them not to be ordinary at all I read this book at the urging of a friend who had known the physical therapist who treated a 12 year old Martha during her long and arduous hospitalization I confess to thinking, What can the author possibly have to write about She lived in an iron lung That, as they say, was my mistake Ms Mason had a lot to say about accepting that which cannot be changed, refusing to let tragedy define a life, and insisting on living with curiosity and cheer That she did so so very well for so very long is a testament to her own strength and a tribute to that of her parents.

  5. says:

    I feel like a heel for not liking this book after all, this amazing woman lived a full life for 61 years in an iron lung The reason I wanted to read the book was to to learn how she psychologically survived the transition from being a normal child to one living in an iron lung as well as how she psychologically managed on a day to day basis for 61 years There was little to none to little of of that in this book except for a cursory mention of depression after an illness She begins the book with extensive description of her mother s descent into dementia While I realize that her mother was her champion in life, the description was excessive While she describes various parts of her life, if you weren t aware that she was living in an iron lung, the narrative could have been written by anyone and, frankly, it is boring as all out Maybe that was her point to prove to the world that she was living a normal life However, she obviously did not lead a normal life, but I never got the gist of what she was really feeling.

  6. says:

    I wanted to like this book than I did sorry, Paige This memoir tells Martha s story, she s believed to have lived longer in an iron lung than anyone else She died at age 71 after spending 61 of those years in an iron lung She contracted polio at age 10 just days after her 13 year old brother died from the disease She always wanted to be a writer and even though she was confined, her parents made sure she completed high school top of her class and got her degree at Wake Forest She became a newspaper reporter and she did all of this while confined to a room in an iron lung Since the technology didn t exist back then, her mom took all of her notes and wrote whatever Martha dictated Eventually, Martha got a voice recognition computer and that s how she eventually wrote her memoir Sounds fascinating yes Eh I got bored and skimmed about 60 percent of the book None of what she accomplished would have been possible were it not for her mom s steadfast dedication In her older years, her mom suffers strokes and dementia Martha spends a great deal of the book on her mom I think it could have been shorter Where I really feel shortchanged though is by the fact that Martha says a lot yet tells us so little about how polio changed her She talks about her friends, who stuck by her, but never shares what it was like to watch them play, grow up, have boyfriends, husbands and families All while she can t move Except for one paragraph where she mentions depression, it s as if living in an iron lung is no big deal She never explains the concerns she surely had about that iron lung malfunctioning She had a generator if electricity went out, but I ve read that since there were so few of them, there were few people who knew how to fix them She lived in this thing for 60 years and never had a problem She also doesn t provide great detail about polio and its effects She mentions Roosevelt once, never explaining that he got polio as an adult Yet in the book, it seems only kids are susceptible to the disease I googled it and now know why that is adults were thought to have had some degree of polio as children and built up immunity she doesn t explain that while she can t move her legs arms, unlike a quadriplegic, she can still feel I think she missed an opportunity to educate us .

  7. says:

    I found this to be an extraordinary book I can t imagine looking at life the way Martha did if I had been in her position Breath wasn t just about her and her selfless mother for whom she credits her survival, it is also about her whole community who made her life livable Teachers who would make sure she graduated not just from high school but from college as well, fellow students who enriched her days with gossip and highlights from school games as they studied with her There were also friends and neighbours who brought food when she was sick so her mother wouldn t have to leave her side and even a doctor who never charged for house calls and was always willing to place a bet against her on the local games Martha lived her life through all those people she collected She got to experience the world through the videotapes they would make for her of their travels and the foods they would send There were times in the book when it seemed she thought she was smarter than everyone else and when her mother s health began to fail one of her first concerns was for herself but she never claimed to be a saint She was a normal human being with normal failings.What I took from her book was her appetite for life She didn t want to be pitied, she wanted to show how enriched her life was despite spending 60 years in an iron lung.

  8. says:

    Ugh Ugh I thought this book was going to be fascinating the memoir of a woman who lived for 61 years in an iron lung But I cringed at least once on every page Here was my inner dialogue while reading This woman is completely maladjusted She lived in a can so maybe give her a break on that one, why don t you Oh my god she s used the term in the theatre stage movie screen cinema movie theatre of my mind AGAIN.It s not fascinating or revelatory, and honestly, I doubted that many of the conversations events in the book even unfolded as she described them A lot of her recollections seemed like you WISH a conversation had gone, looking back, than how most conversations actually go Not much rang true in this one A college professor once told the author, You ll never write until you fill your pen with blood Now it s full of ink You must tear down that wall keeping the world out Unfortunately, Ms Mason didn t take that advice, and the result is a book that makes an iron lung sound pretty wonderful, actually Like, you never felt even a little bit bummed out that you weren t going to ever walk to the store, or have a sexual relationship, or travel Maybe insisting that everything is great is the only way to thrive in such a life, but it sure doesn t make for a good memoir.

  9. says:

    Being inspired by a person does not, unfortunately, automatically translate into liking their writing I feel heartless to admit that I didn t really care for this book The author goes through so much death of a brother, polio that leaves her completely paralyzed and it clearly meant so much to her to finally write her story in her own wordsI wanted to love it But many of the anecdotes have a sickly sweet too good to be true Mayberry esque sheen to them that rang false to me Still, it s a quick read and it s a window into a world none of us will likely ever understand unless the anti vaccination movement continues to grow and for those reasons alone it might be worth reading Another positive for some reason I was expecting a very Christian outlook involving lots of talk about god s plan She s clearly attempting to keep hold of some religious belief, if only for the sentiment of it, but I found the author to be refreshingly pragmatic about the likelihood of a higher power.

  10. says:

    Martha Mason contracted polio at age 11 in 1948 She survived, but she spent the rest of her life in an iron lung, paralyzed from the neck down With the love and support of her mother and father, she graduated from high school and college and eventually became a writer Her story is inspirational, but not in a treacly way Her story is fascinating as she recounts her childhood, her illness, her recovery, and the realization that she would never walk or breathe on her own again Throughout, she maintains a deep faith in God and she surrounds herself with books and a wide circle of friends It s not my usual type of read, but it was enjoyable and it gave me a glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman Mason passed away in 2009, after nearly 60 years in her iron lung.

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