Customer Reviews for

Cures for Heartbreak

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The most surprising thing about the novel is how vivid Rabb's imagery is throughout.

    Cures For Heartbreak by Margo Rabb deals with the subject of loss throughout the novel, as its title may suggest. Set in 1991 in Queens, the story revolves around Mia, her sister Alex, and their father. Semi-biographical, the novel chronicles the family's grieving process when Mia's mother (Greta) is admitted to the hospital with a stomachache and dies twelve days later from advanced melanoma.

    The most surprising thing about the novel is how vivid Rabb's imagery is throughout. Rabb's simple language and conversational tone make the story and characters come alive on the page. Mia's loss is palpable throughout her narration: "My father handed [the death certificate] to him and recounted the details about our mother--a sudden death, twelve days after the diagnosis; no, no one expected it he was sorry too. Forms were filled out. Then Manny invited us to view the coffins." Rather than sympathizing with Mia in an abstract way, readers are completely drawn into the story. It feels like the novel is describing the reader's personal experiences and talking about their own loss instead of the characters'.

    Another dimension is added to the novel because Mia's family is Jewish, her mother arriving in the USA as a baby with her parents in 1939 before America closed its borders to refugee Jews. Rabb uses these close memories of World War Two and the Holocaust to examine Mia's loss in a larger context. The story is incredibly sad, obviously, but also beautiful. It's comforting to see the family try to move forward. Rabb's level of realism is amazing--I felt like I was reading stories from my own life, the details were that vivid.

    This novel actually feels more like a series of inter-connected short stories. The plot moves through funeral preparations, friendship, an engagement, and another funeral as Mia's wayward family tries to reconfigure itself without Greta's grounding presence. And eventually the family does figure it out. When the novel ends it is clear that the situation is not ideal, can't be ideal, but that it does get easier to keep going. Because, as Rabb suggests, the most important thing is to keep going in the face of loss. Rather than stay with the grieving process, Rabb shows that losing someone is never the end of a relationship. It's just a reason to value memories even more.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    wow

    awesome book with tthe perfect amount of romance sorrow and growing up

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

    CURES FOR HEARTBREAK reads more like a series of interconnected short stories than a novel, but the format works. It gives the readers brief, poignant glimpses into the life of its narrator, Mia, during the first year after her mother's sudden death. Told with both humor and painful rawness, the novel should resonate with those who have experienced a loss, and make those who haven't feel almost as if they've been there, too. <BR/><BR/>What makes the disjointed structure work better than anything else is the many well-developed characters. Each chapter focuses on Mia's relationships with those around her: her father, her older sister, her friends and teachers at school, the people she meets at the hospital, and her memories of her mother. Every character is fleshed out on the page, with distinctive voices and quirks, so even in the short glimpses readers get, they get a clear picture of the relationships and how Mia is starting to get back to "normal" life among them. <BR/><BR/>Mia's voice is equally important in making the novel work. Where it could have been flat-out depressing and perhaps overwhelming, her sarcastic comments and comic approaches to certain situations (for example, she images the funeral home as a morbid Broadway musical) break the sadness, while also making the tragedy seem all that much worse in its absurdity. Wavering between jadedness and insecurity, Mia comes across as fully human, too old to be a kid any more but too young to know how to be an adult. Teen readers should find her an easy character to sympathize with, and an entertaining narrator for the journey. <BR/><BR/>CURES FOR HEARTBREAK is not an easy read, simply because of the subject matter and the depth with which it is portrayed. But the humor and the engaging characters will draw readers in, and Mia's progress through mourning will keep them reading, wondering how she will reshape her life after this unexpected turn. She makes mistakes, and struggles with her emotions and fears, but she grows and learns as well. And in the end, there's more hope than sorrow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    Heartbreak is Hard to Put Down. . .

    It was difficult to come up with a descriptor for this book. Initially, I would have said that this book is raw. The emotions are so close to the surface. After pondering, I had to revise that descriptor to real. This is a book that blurs the lines between YA fiction and fiction for the populace at large. Mia Pearlman is a sixteen year old who has suffered the heartache of a mother who has died of melanoma twelve days after the cancer diagnosis has been given. Mia¿s father is so traumatized by the event that he succumbs to a heart attack, and Mia and her older sister, Alex, face the very real possibility that their father may die as well. The entire story is a poignant narrative of a life spent trying to make sense of tragedy. The author¿s note and acknowledgements illuminate the story further. This story is partially autobiographical. The genuineness of the reactions and the noticing of the smallest, seemingly irrelevant, details are the ingredients of a story and a voice with which readers will immediately connect. Because the emotions are so close to the surface, it may not be a story that students who are going through the grieving process can handle. On the other hand, it may prove to be a cathartic experience. There are some fairly explicit sexual references that may titillate more juvenile readers, but the scenarios are not gratuitously added. This is a book that I would add to my own personal library of stories that should be read and reread.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    CURES FOR HEARTBREAK reads more like a series of interconnected short stories than a novel, but the format works. It gives the readers brief, poignant glimpses into the life of its narrator, Mia, during the first year after her mother's sudden death. Told with both humor and painful rawness, the novel should resonate with those who have experienced a loss, and make those who haven't feel almost as if they've been there, too. What makes the disjointed structure work better than anything else is the many well-developed characters. Each chapter focuses on Mia's relationships with those around her: her father, her older sister, her friends and teachers at school, the people she meets at the hospital, and her memories of her mother. Every character is fleshed out on the page, with distinctive voices and quirks, so even in the short glimpses readers get, they get a clear picture of the relationships and how Mia is starting to get back to 'normal' life among them. Mia's voice is equally important in making the novel work. Where it could have been flat-out depressing and perhaps overwhelming, her sarcastic comments and comic approaches to certain situations (for example, she images the funeral home as a morbid Broadway musical) break the sadness, while also making the tragedy seem all that much worse in its absurdity. Wavering between jadedness and insecurity, Mia comes across as fully human, too old to be a kid any more but too young to know how to be an adult. Teen readers should find her an easy character to sympathize with, and an entertaining narrator for the journey. CURES FOR HEARTBREAK is not an easy read, simply because of the subject matter and the depth with which it is portrayed. But the humor and the engaging characters will draw readers in, and Mia's progress through mourning will keep them reading, wondering how she will reshape her life after this unexpected turn. She makes mistakes, and struggles with her emotions and fears, but she grows and learns as well. And in the end, there's more hope than sorrow. **Reviewed by: Lynn Crow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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