The Break-Up Artist – by Philip Siegel
Becca Williamson has a special skill. Not the kind of thing that can go on your college application (I guess?), but something she’s in demand for nonetheless. She’s the Break-Up Artist. A love vigilante. Defender of the jilted best friend, restorer of the single status quo, or, as she puts it:
“A relationship Robin Hood. Someone to level the playing field.” (p 53)
Riiiiiiiight. This is clearly coming from a very normal place.
Look, I liked the premise of this book, but it quickly became clear that Becca’s got some issues, as well as skills. She’s charging people to be an anonymous force for singledom. And the reason? Twofold: she’s been the leftover best friend herself. And her sister’s been hurt by a not-so-charming Prince. She’s never recovered, and neither has Becca.
I think Becca’s completely skewed perspective makes this quite a surreal read. She has a point, to be fair: people sometimes change when they’re in a relationship. They don’t have as much time for friends, at the start. Also, this is high school, and the love affairs that begin here aren’t necessarily (contrary to popular YA belief) destined for greatness, or even longevity. Also, her sister has clearly completely fallen apart after her break up, and isn’t what you’d call a restraining influence.
But COME ON.
Making it your mission – your well paid mission, no less – to actively break up couples smacks more of horrible interfering than anything else. And it’s no surprise that as the mask of the secret identity is peeled away people react pretty badly to Becca’s caped crusader exploits. As did I, to be honest.
Oh, and ALSO, when Becca starts to feel something romantically-inclined herself? All bets are off. Sigh.
I’m actually not sure how to talk about this book. I think it’s possibly worth a read, as a surreal high school comedy. Which is not what it’s aiming for – Becca takes herself and her ‘job’ pretty seriously.
All I know is that I read it like this:
Pretty much the entire way.
Are you a fan of such awkward, absurd comedy as Awkward or Fawlty Towers? (Both of which I love, incidentally.) Then I think you might get a kick out of The Break-Up Artist. But if you’re looking for anything approaching a serious read, this might not be the book for you. Try this. Or, of course, the book behind this.
Have you ever read a book that veered into ‘so bad it’s (almost) good’ territory??