The Virtues of Oxygen
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The Virtues of Oxygen


From the award-winning author of A Watershed Year comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town’s struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly’s world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

Title:The Virtues of Oxygen
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:242 pages

    The Virtues of Oxygen Reviews

  • Doreen
    Jul 08, 2014

    This is the story of two women. One of them, Holly, is a 42-year-old widow with two teenage sons. She works at the local newspaper in Bertram Corners, a two-hour drive from New York City. She struggle...

  • Charlene Intriago
    Mar 14, 2015

    There are lots of good reviews of this book so I won't say much. Just an "okay" read for me. The story of two women whose lives intertwine but I was only interested in one story - Vivian's, a polio su...

  • Dana ****Reads Alot****
    Aug 15, 2014

    I could not put this book down. The friendship between Vivian and Holly was so touching and extraordinary. Funny how close they both were really never knew each others struggles until almost the very ...

  • Marlene
    Aug 03, 2014

    Originally published at Reading RealityThe Virtues of Oxygen is the story of two women (and a town) who are all having difficulty with something that is critical to survival.It’s not that Holly star...

  • Tanya Eby
    Mar 17, 2014

    A really sweet story about every day struggles to live...and just breathe. I co-narrated this with Laural Merlington. She voices Vivian, a women in an iron lung; I play Holly, a single-mom trying to t...

  • Debrianna Obara
    Sep 15, 2014

    Very good book that weaves together two different stories and explores the idea of feeling trapped (by circumstances, by health, by financial issues) as well as human resilience....

  • Karen
    Aug 24, 2014

    I would have most certainly given this book 5 stars 2/3 of the way through. I was loving every moment. But then it kind of fell apart at the end. Holly's financial was resolved too quickly and easily,...

  • Diane D White
    Nov 06, 2014

    A Contemporary Tale of Traditional ValuesI didn't know this book was based on a real life story until after I'd read it. I thought the character Vivian was a fictitious symbol of man's ability to rise...

  • Katharine
    Nov 24, 2014

    I don't often care whether I like a book character or not, but in this one I couldn't get past my contempt for Holly.I was widowed with a small child and never once did I think it was okay to stick wi...

  • Laura Hamon
    Aug 05, 2015

    I really enjoyed the time with this book.t was an enjoyable read wondering the fate of a few characters . It was relaxing and with suspense . I kept going back for more. I was trying to figure our Rac...

About Susan Schoenberger

Susan Schoenberger

Thanks for reading my profile!I'm a native of Newburgh, NY, and a graduate of Newburgh Free Academy and Dartmouth College (BA, 1984). My first published novel,"A Watershed Year," won the 2006 gold medal for novel in the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. I spent the year after that looking for an agent, and was fortunate enough to secure Jessica Regel, then of the Jean V