Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts

I would like to accuse The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler of false advertisement. Don’t worry lovers of this book or author, this accusation is done in happiness. Ockler’s novel is advertised as a coming of age story of love and heart break. Jude is the last Hernandez sibling in the house. Growing up she witnessed the many heart breaks her 3 sisters endured, and most of those incidents were caused by the Vargas brothers. After a final heart break, one to go in the record books, the Hernandez sisters decide to create a book of broken hearts, in which they record all the guys that ever stomped on their hearts and wishes. Once the book is all set, they also make poor Jude (she’s about 12 years old during this and if you ask me I am shocked she isn’t more traumatized by love after what her sisters tell her) do a blood pack promising to never, ever be involved with a Vargas brother for any reason, because they are all “dark hearts, every one.”

This all sounds very sisterly and girl bonding-ish, but enter Emilio. Emilio Vargas is the answer to Jude’s prayers but a constant nightmare as well. See, here is the reason why I believe this book was falsely advertised. This isn’t about just love; this is about Jude trying to keep hold of her family as they are faced with Bear Hernandez’s Alzheimer’s. After Jude’s father Bear recognizes his old motorcycle and starts remembering the old days, before he started a family, she latches on to the hope that this restoration of the motorcycle will be the cure for him. Hence the desperate act of hiring a Vargas brother. What ensues is plenty of grease head speak, memories of her father, keeping Emilio a secret from her sisters and figuring out why Emilio makes her shiver at every turn.

I loved it. Emilio was a great character with depth; he wasn’t just a pretty face or just another Vargas brother. He helped in the development of Jude’s character as well, which is always nice to see. Alzheimer’s is also done tastefully in this book. At no point did I think, “Wow, this author is reaching.” I understood the illness in its infancy and could see the pain behind each character that this illness touched. Lovely story, lovely characters and lovely messages were threaded in this big fat falsely advertised book!

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