Breathing for a Living: A Memoir

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Hyperion Books, Jul 9, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 237 pages
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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.

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About the author (2003)

Laura Rothenberg was born and raised in New York City and attended the Chapin School and Brown University. She died in March of 2003.
Part of Laura Rothenberg's story was recorded and shared on NPR's Radio Diaries. To listen to it, link to www.Radiodiaries.com.

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