Asthma afflicts more than ten million Americans. Many more already have this disease but haven't been diagnosed. This is a riveting account of a middle-aged biographer and teacher's experience with this chronic condition. After years of suffering breathlessness, she was diagnosed as having asthma. Used to understanding her own life by examining someone else's, DeSalvo began to devour the works of asthmatic writers including Marcel Proust, Elizabeth Bishop, John Updike, and Dylan Thomas. Her research on the causes of asthma links the breathlessness with post-traumatic stress. DeSalvo was sexually abused as a child and deeply depressed by the suicide of her sister. The author's courageous confrontation with her fear of letting go enables her to cohabit with asthma. This honest journey into the land of chronic illness will benefit all who read it.