The Book Of Broken Hearts
Free read from pulseit.com
Jude has three older sisters and they’ve taught her many things. Now that Jude is the only sibling living at home, she’s taken the summer after graduating high school to take care of her father. Where she should be enjoying the freedom before college, going on road trips with her friends and hanging out, Jude is spending time with her dad helping keep him on track. Her father wants to restore his vintage motorcycle but with the family’s meager budget they can only afford an apprentice mechanic – Emilio Vargas.
Of all the things that Jude’s sisters have taught her, the most important is that you never, ever get involved with a Vargas boy. They are Bad News. They are Trouble. They have Heartbreak written all over them. Jude has seen several of her sisters get their hearts broken by different Vargas boys and it has become a golden rule of their family. You stay away from the Vargas boys. No matter what.
Jude weighs up her options and she decides that she wants to help restore the bike more than she wants to obey some old rule from years ago and anyway, her sisters aren’t around. They all live in different cities and Jude figures that they can get the bike done and Emilio Vargas will be gone before anyone really knows he was even there. And she’s confident she won’t fall for the reputed Vargas charm – after all she’s seen the heartbreak that comes from that and she’s heard plenty more stories as well. All she cares about is getting the bike fixed for her father while he is still able to enjoy it.
But Emilio does turn out to be different. And Jude finds that she wants her sisters to be very wrong about the Vargas boys…and that maybe, this time just might be different.
I’ve read a Sarah Ockler book before (Twenty Boy Summer) and when I saw this one on the list for the pulseit.com free reads of December, I marked it down as one to definitely make sure I read, because I’d heard really good things about it. It’s a fabulous book but I have to warn that I am going to ****SPOILER***** what is wrong with Jude’s father when I talk about my thoughts on the book because it’s really hard to address the book and how well I think it tackles the issue without actually mentioning what the issue is. So if you want to read this book without knowing what is wrong with him….stop reading this review now!
***SPOILERS**** start now!
Jude’s father has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It has progressed to the stage where he can no longer go to work and Jude is spending the summer with him, essentially looking after him and making sure that he doesn’t do anything dangerous around the house. He has a lot of periods of lucidity but he also has times where he regresses to a different part of his life and thinks that Jude is one of her sisters or someone else entirely. It’s a big job for Jude to watch him and look after him and also experience seeing her father like this: exposed, vulnerable. She rolls up her sleeves and does a great job, wanting that last special time with him before he won’t recognise her anymore. The disease is generally quite rapid in its deterioration and Jude knows that the time they have left together is short. That’s why she wants so desperately to get the bike restored – so that her father will still get a chance to ride it before he no longer remembers what a bike is and what to do on it. It’s a truly horrible disease, striking down a man so young as Jude’s father and there’s no doubt watching something like this would be truly devastating. I think Jude is an admirable character, putting as much effort into her father as she does. There are times when it’s truly heartbreaking, when he forgets where he is and causes a scene and she has to try and calm him down but there are so many lovely moments between the two of them, when he’s more lucid and still in the present.
To be entirely honest, the romance in this book didn’t really do much for me. Emilio was an okay kind of character, he was a bit full of himself but he balanced this out by being very kind to Jude about her father and very understanding and helpful, even when he doesn’t know exactly what is going on with him, which I liked about him. Emilio is equal parts mature for his age and playfully flirtatious which does come across as a bit too strong at times, but overall he’s a pretty decent character who rightfully wonders why he should be punished for the sins of his relatives. He’s not the boys that hurt Jude’s sisters and he does really like Jude and wants to take her on an adventure, if Jude just has the courage to jump in headfirst.
The shining light in this book is, I think, the way that Jude’s father is written and the relationship he has with the girls in his life (his wife and his four daughters) and how they are all handling his degenerative disease. Jude’s dedication to her father and the way she handles him is so brave and well done, makes her seem so much older than she is. She does have her moments of small time tantrums and immaturity but I reckon after all she does, she’s more than entitled to them.
Book #329 of 2013