The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

The Air You Breathe

The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride--and each woman's fear that she would be nothing without the other.Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Gra...

Details The Air You Breathe

TitleThe Air You Breathe
Release DateAug 21st, 2018
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Cultural, Brazil

Reviews The Air You Breathe

  • Christina - Traveling Sister
    4 'nobody puts Samba in a corner' stars!! We open with Dores - an orphan living and working on a sugar plantation in Brazil. To say she's had a rough go of it would the the understatement of the year. Graca is the new owners daughter - she is charming, lively, spunky, sassy, incredibly willful and privileged and spoiled to a fault. Dores and Graca form an unlikely and unshakable bond that will carry them through the hardships of the 1930s and 40s...
  • Diane S ☔
    4.5 Drawn in by the sights and sounds of the 1920's in Brazil and set againt the background of samba music, this is the story of two young girls, who against all odds become successful. Two young women, Dores and Graca, raised in very different circumstances, but become friends, each other's inspiration and eventual downfall. Their journey , the people they meet, an amazing story to follow, so much history followed in the time period when they ar...
  • Angela M
    samba. : a Brazilian dance of African origin with a basic pattern of step-close-step-close and characterized by a dip and spring upward at each beat of the music; also : the music for this dance. (Merriam-Webster dictionary online)I felt as if this story was like a samba as it too was characterized by dips and upward springs in the lives of two complex characters as they stepped through their lives, their journey from a sugar cane plantation in B...
  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    3.5 stars. This book will have you humming to the beat of samba music! This is the story of Graca and Dores – two girls from two different parts of society. They have an intense friendship filled with fierce love and ruthless rivalry. They need and depend on each other in different ways, both feeling incomplete without the other. The story begins on a sugar plantation in Brazil that Graca’s family owns. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this...
  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    Traveling Sisters Group ReadLindsay and I read The Air You Breathe with four of our Traveling Sisters and we all really loved this glorious, rich and soulful story of friendship.We all loved the vivid and colorful feel we got for the setting and lively time.  Frances de Pontes Peebles takes us through an intense and emotional, journey of a complex bond between friends and their love and ambition for Samba music.  We follow them through their pa...
  • Katie B
    This was a beautifully written book. I really felt like the author transported me to 1930s Brazil and with such an emphasis on music, the book had a lyrical quality. From the get go it was easy to get caught up in nine-year-old Dores's story line. She's an orphan on a sugar plantation and for the most part she is forced to take care of herself. She develops an unlikely friendship with Graca, the daughter of the plantation owner. The two are compl...
  • Marialyce
    4 sometimes what you think you want is not what you want at all stars“We all take for granted things that come too easily.That's why I can't let you go--you're always a challenge to me.Here's my wow to you, here's all I believe:For you, I'll stay invisible. I"ll be the air you breathe.” Is it possible to stay invisible when what you want is exactly what another has?The time: the 1930sThe place: BrazilThe characters: Dores and GracaThe tie tha...
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    4 stars Thank you to Penguin's First to Read and Riverhead books for a chance to read and review this ARC. Publishes Aug 21, 2018. You never know what you will get when you dive into a book written about another culture. But in this case, I am so very happy that I took the dip. The writing and prose in this book took you right into the 1930's Brazilian experience. It's music, it's culture, it's place in history all came alive. Then as the protago...
  • Kristen Beverly
    I had a hard time with the first 75ish pages of this book. But after Graca and Dor head out on their own, I absolutely fell in love. I devoured this book, which is saying a lot considering it’s hefty & has a lot of meat to the writing. Highly recommend for fellow lovers of historical fiction.
  • Celia
    The Air You Breathe describes a friendship that starts on a sugar plantation in Brazil, moves to the world of samba in Rio, and then Hollywood, and then back home. It is narrated by Dores, the orphaned servant of Graca. Graca and Dores--- Grace and Sorrow. Friends, yes, but the friendship is dysfunctional. A friendship not soft and warm, but hard and full of sharp edges. I did not hate the book, but did not really like it either. The story did no...
  • Monica Kim
    When we are young, we give ourselves completely. We allow our first friends or first lovers or first songs inside us, to become a part of our unformed being, without ever thinking of the consequences, or of their permanence within us. — Frances de Pontes Peebles, The Air You Breathe ..Before I head out for a long weekend, I wanted to leave with you this review. Frances de Pontes Peebles’ “The Air You Breathe” is an epic, immersive saga of...
  • Kathryn
    SEX, DRUGS & SAMBAAuthor, Frances De Pontes Peeples delivers the history of the Samba's rise from hills of Brazil and the songs of the slaves on the sugar plantations to the popularizing of this sound that is uniquely a Brazilian export. Dores and Graca run away from their life and future female roles in an attempt to make it big in radio. Instead they shine brighter playing in the biggest Rio nightclubs and making top-selling records and as they...
  • Jillian Doherty
    This story is so much more than just Brazil, Samba, and two girls journey through it. It’s a heartbreaking experience reaching from martyrdom, to heart wrenching selfishness that pulls you apart and it drive your further into the story! I didn’t know much about the musics origin, but here the illustration wines you through dark streets in smoke filled music halls to feel the music rather than hear it.The girls develop along with their musical...
  • Shweta Panda
    The Air You Breathe revolves around the two girls Dores and Graca, their friendship which will change everything. Both were from totally different background but it clicks immediately. The way how the plot moves showing their passion for music makes me feel like they complete each other.This book is so so beautiful and has musical nature, it will make you feel as if you are there with Dores and Graca during 1930s in Brazil.Well if you are looking...
  • Dana Portwood
    3.5 starsIt is hard to write a review for this book. It is rich and beautiful and evocative. The atmosphere is lush and lyrical. I smelled and tasted and heard Brazil. I wanted to adore this book. But for all that is very good about this book, it also felt like it needed a tighter storyline. I don't mind slow story building but there were times when I wanted to tell this book to, GET THERE ALREADY. The ruminations began to bog the plot down and f...
  • Libby
    “As long as you have a song inside you, you are never alone.” Frances de Pontes Peebles‘The Air You Breathe’ by Frances De Pontes Peebles is a beautiful yet tragic story. The beat or the rhythm of the story is centered in the musical lives of two girls, Maria das Graça, daughter of the Pimentels, and Maria das Dores, daughter of an unmarried woman. Dores was given by the midwife to Nena, the head cook on the Riacho Doce plantation and ne...
  • Erica
    I love a book about female friendships, and I also love complicated female characters. This book has both of those, and it was beautifully written. A gem.
  • Patrycja
    My husband was sitting next to me when I finished this one. I closed it and looked at him and his immediate response when he saw the look on my face was "Whats's wrong?" Why? Because I am honestly conflicted about this book.I averaged out a 4/5 for writing and a 2/5 for historical issues to a 3/5.On the one hand, it is not at all poorly written and the plot is interesting and engaging. There are some plot devices I have seen before (but someone o...
  • Sarah
    3.5 samba beats.I liked The Air You Breathe a lot, but I didn't love it as much as I was expecting to.I have read ZERO novels about Brazilians, or anything set for even a minute in Brazil. It was wonderful to read about such a vibrant, tumultuous place for the first time outside of an International Relations uni reading pack. I loved the way de Pontes Peebles painted the country - with wide and unapologetic strokes. I could almost feel the heat o...
  • Shelby Kollin
    3.5/5"How incredible then that, despite the precariousness of my existence, despite the coarseness and violence that always threatened to suffocate me, there was this beauty, this grace, that had found me through music, and that no one could take from me."This is a story about an incredibly dysfunctional and unhealthy friendship. One girl believes she deserves the world and she falls completely apart if things do not go exactly as she wants them ...
  • Sarah
    A few parts moved a little slowly but otherwise I LOVED it!
  • Melike
    Beautiful story, the author's writing is lyrical and poetic.
  • Staci
    So good! I really enjoyed this novel. It was definitely a slow starter but the beginning did a great job of laying the foundation for the complex dynamic between Graca and Dores. Their relationship had a complicated beginning, middle and end. This is an atmospheric and engaging story that gives the reader a glimpse of the political and social climate of Brazil in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s as well as the US in the 40’s, most specifically H...
  • Creager
    The Air You Breathe is a literary musical marvel.And then there is Dores and Graca. Before there was the Latina movie and singing siren Sofia Salvador there was Graca Pimentel or the Little Miss as the kitchen girl, Dores was to address her. The Air You Breathe is a sweeping coming of age narrative that finds two unlikely girls as tied notes in each other’s life as they try to achieve a musical life together, then separately and over again. Fro...
  • Lori O
    I like that this story spans over 70 years. The two main characters (girls) meet at a young age and form an unlikely bond. One of the girls is pretty, spoiled and strong-willed. The other is not-so-pretty, orphaned and easily forgotten. What cements their friendship is their mutual passion for music and we see it emerge early in their youth and intensify throughout their relationship. One of the girls is gifted with a melodious voice, the other w...
  • Katie (kmdbookworm)
    I feel fairly confident in saying that The Air You Breathe is one of my favorite reads of this summer.The book centers on two friends, Graca and Dores, and their journey through life together, which was both short and long. It’s a beautiful and lyrical book, almost literally. I read this one in less than a week, eager to return to these two women’s stories. The book begins on a sugar plantation in Brazil in the 1930s, where Graca is the daugh...
  • Rebecca Heneghan
    Story of friendship and samba set 1930s Brazil. I really enjoyed this.
  • Tamara
    Just received an email that I won this book on a goodreads giveaway! Can't wait to dive in when it arrives.Really enjoyed this book! Thanks for the opportunity to read it early! Highly recommend.
  • Gaele
    Using a common thread to tie the two little girls, Dores, an orphan working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation and Graça, the daughter of the house. But both have much in common: their nine-year old selves become fast friends despite it all: the plantation is remote and there aren’t many children around – so being the same age and enjoying many of the same things (even as Graça’s got far more exposure to the better life) are instantly a...