When the author uses this quote to start a book, prepared to be ruined, They said you came looking for me. I didn’t drown; I was the water”- Jo Nketiah Also…the the title was a dead giveaway.

This book is being marketed as a mash up of Transcendent Kingdom and A Man Called Over and I think its doing the book a disserve, I think this Open Water and Transcendent Kingdom had a baby… The Selfless Act of Breathing would be the child. This is my way of saying… it’s a beautiful child that you MUST READ!

This is such a beautiful debut, Bola has a way with words where they get under your skin, and stay there. I was so moved by how the author handled Michael story, it was nuanced, fresh, engaging, and truly beautiful, I think everyone should read this book.

We meet Michael, a young teacher at a high school in London. He is loved by his students, his co-worker enjoys his company, his best friend loves him, he still lives with his mother and can barely save enough after he gets paid. While he is doing was well as can be, for a long time he’s felt like he doesn’t have the will to go on. He continues to push through those feelings- even when his mother brings home the pastor and asks for his blessing for them to get married. After a traumatic experience, things finally pushes him to leave it all behind… and that’s where the story starts, with these lines, “I quit my job; I am taking my life savings, $9,021, and when it runs out, I am going to kill myself.”

With an opener like that, prepare for the unexpected. To leave London, head to LA and all over the USA… but what happens when the life savings runs out? Well… read to find out.

I cannot wait to read what Bola writes next. Loneliness is a topic I feel we don’t talk a lot about and Bola did it with heart and nuance. Michael experience is so layered, being a Black teacher in London, from Immigrant parents, being raised by his mother who expects so much of him, including going to church regularly. I really did not want the book to end. What a beautiful read.

Below are some of of the quotes from the book I absolutely LOVED!

We fight to be seen, for the world to know that we are here, only for us to be forgotten, to be invisible once again.

Have you ever loved, knowing it would end, but giving your whole heart regardless?

She loved books in a different way than I; they brought her back into the world but helped me escape.

The thing about losing love is makes you feel like you can never love again, like you are not worthy.

It reminds him of the Caribbean restaurants in Dalston or Tottenham High Road, and how there’s always something endearing about the way the servers behind the counter never smile at you, or the way they tell you, “we nuh ave that,” and yet you keep coming back because you love it.

Loneliness is being there for everyone, everyone, in the hope that someone will be there for you. But no one ever is. You are the sun, lighting the world of another, while setting yourself on fire.

And above all, it is love, that spark of bright light, that dazzling flame, ephemeral or eternal, may it find us, may it be us, the will that carries us forward, the bond that brings us back, from beyond this lonely feeling to healing; the selfless act of breathing.

About the Author


Founder & Editor

Hello, I am Cindy, a Jamaican girl living in Trinidad & Tobago who is thoroughly enjoying island life. I started the BookOfCinz platform to encourage people to Read, read More, read Widely, and Read Caribbean.

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