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Rashika, The Book Owl

So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts - Sarah Ockler

“Family tragedies had a way of smashing everything apart and then gluing it all back together” 

This is a book about heart breaks. Heart breaks happen in all relationships, whether it’s your friends, your family or someone you’re in love with.

It isn’t a romance, sure there is romance in it but the focus is on how a family is dealing with illness. Jude’s father was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer's and is losing his memories little by little. Jude, hoping she can bring him back, decides to restore his old motorcycle.

I cannot imagine what it would be like if one of my loved ones was diagnosed with this disease, having to live every day in fear of them eventually forgetting me. It’s so heart breaking to see Jude go through this because it is unfair. She is only 17 and didn’t get as much time with her father as say her older sister who is 30 therefore she doesn’t have nearly as many good memories with her father as her older sisters. So she tries to hold on to her father even though she knows the disease is degenerative.

Because of this, she is drifting apart from her friends. She tries to hold on but for her, her father is more important. Her friends aren’t awful but aren’t great either. They don’t understand how hard this is on her and see her father as ‘the crazy old man’. I’d say that her friends should have been more understanding, more supportive and should have tried to comfort her but I can understand them to a certain degree. In a situation like that you are bound to feel awkward. I’d like to say that if that happened to any one of my friends, I’d be the bestest friend ever but I cannot until I have been in that situation.

Her relationships with her sisters is interesting, I being the oldest have no idea what it’s like to be the younger kid but I like to think it’s super easy (because you know I am the older one, we all like to think things are worse for us.. more expectations and what not) but it’s not. Her older sisters are loving, but they are over protective. Mari especially, she tries to control situations but she is also supportive and loyal even if she over does it.

One would assume before reading the book that the whole pact about avoiding the Vargas’ is silly but it isn’t. What happened to Celi really sucked even if it happened ages ago. Things like that are bound to affect your self-esteem and the whole oath rose up as a way to comfort Celi.

There was this point in the book where Jude tries to hide the fact that they have a Vargas working in their garage and goes so far as to tell her sister to shorten her visit. She talks about missing her sisters quite often and so this did annoy me but I love how later on in the book she does confess and she even stands up for herself because she wants to experience things on her own, make her own mistakes.

One of the really cool things about this book is the whole cultural setting. It’s a Spanish household and I don’t know much about them apart from the usual stereotypes and I enjoyed the fact that this story took place in a Spanish household.

Jude as a character is great. She’s a great drama student and loves being the occasional drama queen but she has her own flaws, she is good at denial and makes the occasional mistake. She loves her family and when she wants to restore her dad’s old bike she goes as far as to learn every single bit she can about the ‘biker dude’ culture and anything else she can find about bikes. She is also funny and has a great voice which makes the book fun to read (no not fun, it’s a heart breaking read).

Emilio Vargas. Umm is the name enough? Oh it isn’t. Dang. My brain just went blank, what do I say about him? He has his own flaws and while he is a major part of the book it isn’t so much about his character but more about what he represents and how he changes Jude’s view of about certain things. We learn quite a few things about him but I believe the author does that to point out that he is a human; you cannot judge him by what his brothers did. Where would we be if we judged everyone by their families?

Although I loved this book I wished we found out a bit more about why the Vargas brothers did what they did and maybe a bit more about their side of the story, because honestly? I cannot wrap my head around what Johnny did, there must have been SOME reason?

This heart breaking story somehow found a way to my heart. It was something I needed right now after being disappointed by a couple of books and even though in a couple of days I’ll probably be looking for another good book complaining about the lack of them, for now the memory of this one remains fresh in my mind.

This review has also been posted on my blog