Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Toxic Relationships, Friendship
This was messy and beautiful. A beautiful mess. Just like life, I guess. The illustrations are soft, neat and gorgeous in a hypnotic way. The characters are unique and complex and some completely ordinary and yet interesting nonetheless. Some are shitty and hurtful and yet so charismatic that they pull you in, making you feel special to be in their presence, but oh so very wrong for you.
This is not a feel-good story, and Freddy is not the perfect heroine, but can we give her a break? Can we try to understand her? Life is a journey. Some people somehow understand this better and faster. Others take more time and learn a bit slower, harder. It’s fine. It’s all okay. And remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t make you stronger, wiser, bolder. No one likes to feel bad, depleted of energy or positivity, but it’s unrealistic to expect to go through life having only positive and uplifting experiences.
The key is to find different ways to help you get through the less uplifting moments. Don’t avoid them, like you would obstacles in a car race. Because you can’t do that forever, and the moment you are faced with a challenge you can’t avoid and fail to overcome it, it will hit you much harder than if you had previous experience with heartbreak, failure. I’m speaking half from experience and half from a place that aspires to always think and act this way.
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