Book Reviews

Two Breaths Too Late by Rochelle Maya Callen

Posted by [email protected] on September 29, 2014 at 10:40 AM

When I first started reading this book it seemed as if only a few moments had passed and some how time eluded me. Through tear filled eyes I realized the page wouldn't turn again, and that it was 5:30am. My eyes were nearly swollen shut. I had "ugly cried" until I felt the red splotches on my face would be a permenant fixture. Nose red and raw from all the blowing and wiping I had done throughout the night. This story touched me in ways you will never know and in ways I could never find the words to describe. I wanted to tell Rochelle congrats on her new book, but in a way it felt wrong. I would rather say thank you to her for the lives she will save if only they open to the first page. Though this story was as heart wrenching as they come, it has a message in it that reaches out and not only touches your heart, but nearly leaves you breathless, too. I have 3 teenage boys who live through today's evil and bullies, I grew up in a non physically abusive alcholic home, and my grandfather commited suicide when I was only 8 years of age. At the time, I only knew I would never see him again, but as age fell upon me I felt the sting...the burn....the anger mixed with sadness that his needless death brought to my family. I have lived years listening to my step-father threaten it in his drunken state, wondering if it would one day finally come true. The fear that flows through you after you have already encountered a suicide up close and personal is real. It is raw. And you feel your insides flip and get sick to your stomach every time you hear someone say that suicide is the best solution. Afraid it will happen again. When you leave this Earth in this manner you are not just are taking a part of everyone who loves you with you. You leave people who miss your smile, your hugs...your kisses. You leave people who miss your voice. I have suffered with my own depression since I was 14. Although I have always been lucky enough to  know suicide is not the answer, I understand the bleak, lonely emptiness one can feel that can put them there. I am sharing all of this sincere, private info in hopes that I reach just ONE person the way Rochelle reached me.

So many people, not only in the US, but in every country around the globe, deal with suicide. Whether it be a personal conflict, a family member, a friend or even just someone in their community. It is a senseless act and we can help so many others by sharing our stories, by reaching out, by not only teaching others to hold on to hope--but by learning to hold on to hope sharing that hope with others. Every life is important. Every life is beautiful in its own way. Every life IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR! I hope Rochelle is able to have sales that go through the roof and reach people who are in that hole and that through her words they can find their 'bird' (book ref) and fly to a happier place filled with love. Love not only from others, but most importantly from themselves. 5 fairies!!


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  Part of the proceeds will go to  HoldOn2Hope


You can find it on Amazon and B&N.

Amazon link broken. PLease c/p link:



Interview w/ Rochelle Maya Callen

What was school like for you?

Depends on which year! I lived in Ecuador for a while when I was in 4th grade and when I came back to the states, I started homeschooling. Loved it. Interned at Nasa when I was 12, went to a political leadership conference when I was 13, did a student-run radio show at NPR when I was 15, graduated when I was 16. I was a part of a private academy that had classes on Thursdays and then gave you A LOT of homework for the week. It was much closer to college than what I have seen of traditional high schools. I could be extremely shy, but I usually tried to be the person to go and sit with anyone who sat alone. One year, I would wear crazy hats every week: cat in the hat, pirate, etc. Another year, I wore black EVERYTHING. The dress code was very strict, so I liked to bend all the rules as much as possible. I was always very busy. My friends joked that they had to schedule an appointment with me to see me. I graduated college summa cum laude at 20 and a-d-o-r-e-d it. One year, I was working three jobs (including the on-campus writing center), was on the SGA and editor-in-chief of the newspaper...and I commuted. Never stopped being busy. :) My sister is in college now and I kind of want to crash her campus. I would like to go back to school when my daughter is older.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To make an impact on someone. At its core, that is the ambition. That is enough. The extra awesomeness would be to be able to write several books a year that were well-read and well-loved and ended up on a list or two ;)

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Because of my schedule, I more often listen to audiobooks. I love audiobooks. I just read some awesome books by Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, Robyn Schneider and Sarah J. Mass. I am planning on a week of reading at some point near the holidays.

What is the one thing you have to have with or near you when you are writing that some may even call a superstition?


                      Please continue reading to hear Rochelle's story.


I was about 12. I had a canopy bed with flowers on the headboard. I had a white and purple chair that wobbled because one leg wasn't screwed on right and in front of it all, was a noose. There are these desperate moments when you feel like the world is too heavy and you are too brittle. That was one of those moments. It had been a few days earlier when my mom was sprawled out on our driveaway because my dad had beaten her so bad that she couldn't stand up. When he drove away, our elderly neighbors came over to help bring her in the house. They said they would call the police. She told them no. My sister was about two. I don't remember if she saw or not. My mom, even though I saw how she winced when she moved, cleaned the house, played with my sister, and cooked dinner. My dad came home. We sat around a table in silence and ate. I don't know if my mom knew...but I could always tell when she kept the tears from streaming down her face. The tears lived there like a secret, but they were there.

I remembered running down the street and cutting my feet on rocks because I was scared that my father, being drunk, would get in an accident with my sister in the back seat. I remembered my mom and her secret tears. I remember the pot smell that drifted under the door when my dad's friends came over. I remembered the belts I hid under the entertainment center. I remembered and it all felt like too much and so I stepped on the chair and was ready to give it all up.

I still remember the uneven, shaky wobble of the chair as I stepped onto it. I almost felt relief as I reached for the rope...

Then something happened.

A child's laugh echoed up from downstairs.

My sister's laugh. My mom and sister were playing downstairs. It slammed into me. What would they see when they walked into my room?

How could I leave them?

Because even in our house of secrets, belts, and heartache, we had each other. And that was enough.

I stepped off the chair, took down the rope, and walked out of my room.

I lived. I loved. I dreamed. I have best friends who I call mom and sister. Years later, I was able to forgive my father. Years later, I have my own home with a husband and daughter who light up my life.

Ellie Walker in Two Breaths Too Late makes a very different choice.

Suicide has touched so many of us. Maybe we lost someone we loved or we grappled with the thought ourselves. Maybe it feels distant.

Here is the truth: every year, one million people lose their lives because of suicide.

Here is more truth: that statistic needs to change.

There is a stigma talking about mental health, abuse, and suicide. We need to have intimate and meaningful conversations of these subjects so that people can open up and share their stories and inspire others to HoldOn when all feels lost...because one million lives, even one life, is too much loss for this world.

HoldOn2Hope unites creatives in suicide prevention. The project's purpose is to spark conversations, educate communities, and offer powerful messages in relation to strength and loss so that the issues can be propelled into the media's spotlight.

With every purchase of Two Breaths Too Late, you are contributing to that mission.

Please remember...

that hope still lives in the dark. If all feels lost, hold on. The world needs you in it.





You can find out more about author Rochelle Maya Callen on her website. Thank you for reading this to the end and remember Ellie was Two Breaths Too Late...but you don't have to be. #HoldOn2Hope !!

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1 Comment

Reply [email protected]
9:09 AM on September 30, 2014 
Rochelle, thank you for allowing me to be part of your magical day. Happy Release Day!! :-)

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