Thursday, April 16, 2015

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Source: Library
Pages: 304
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1st 2011
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Pass

SummaryThree days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

Review: After reading Catch a Falling Star, I really wanted to see what else Kim Culbertson had in store. Turns out, she has a few other books that were published earlier. This plot line seemed the most interesting of the books she has published, besides Catch a Falling Star of course, for two reasons. One, there is a list. And I absolutely love lists. Two, Italy. Enough said. So I cracked this book open and off to Italy I went.

But it wasn't what I expected. For something that turned out to be extremely momentous in the main character's life, the turning point of the story, which really was the beginning of it all, happened really blandly. It was expected, yet there was no wow factor. It was just another page to turn and for me, the plot line moved too slowly.

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the lists and how it all went down. Jessa's best friend leaves her a list of things to do, and they're things that Jessa normally wouldn't do under any circumstance. Yet she does them anyway. They're supposed to make her feel better, but while I could see the changes in her emotions, I don't think the letters were very effective. What is revealed towards the end if what I felt was the whole purpose of the letters--to lessen the blow of a secret withheld. But even that seemed like a simple sort of problem. 

I wasn't able to truly connect with any of the characters. I didn't think they were fully formed enough to really side with or laugh alongside or relate to. There were definitely some really funny and interesting  characters, but I do wish that I could've known more. For example, I wish I knew more about the best friend who made the envelopes for Jessa. She was very important to Jessa, seeing as how they were best friends, but I only got a glimpse of who she was, and even at the end of the book, there wasn't much more that was learned.

That being said, Instructions for a Broken Heart was still an enjoyable read. The immersion of Italian culture was vivid, and there were many funny moments. While I do wish it was executed in a more thorough way, the idea was fun and interesting. And even though I didn't like this book as much as I was hoping to, I'm glad to say that, so far, I haven't felt the need to write a list about why. But hey, I do love a good list.

Eh, it was alright

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