Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Breakup Doctor

By Jami Deise

**Giveaway is now closed**

I got married really young – met my husband at 21 – so thankfully it’s been a while since I’ve been dumped. But as a writer looking for an agent and publisher, I still get rejected on a regular basis. It’s painful. And maybe I shouldn’t be following agents on Twitter who’ve told me “thanks, but no thanks,” because that makes it all the more painful to read their tweets about the talented new writer they just signed (not me) and the three-book deal they just got for a client (also not me). I want to cry in my pillow like Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally“It’s not that she didn’t want to sign any new writers. It’s just that she didn’t want to sign me!”

I could probably use some help.

Sally Albright could probably have used some help, too. She let Joe string her along for five years, suppressed the pain of the break-up, and then nearly destroyed her relationship with true love Harry Burns by guilting him into spending the night when she already knew how much he hated that. If only she had had someone mature and unbiased to talk to (not Marie). Someone like therapist Brook Ogden.

Brook Ogden, the title character in Phoebe Fox’s debut novel The Breakup Doctor, is a mature unbiased someone. She’s the first person her best friend Sasha runs to in the wake of yet another disastrous relationship. She’s so together that when she goes to work and finds a wrecking ball (not a singing barely dressed one) demolishing the office building where she practiced – as well as her therapy partnership – she quickly reinvents herself as the Breakup Doctor. With her hometown of Fort Myers, Florida, filled with desperate dumpees like Sasha, soon she has a number of clients as well as a regular column in the local newspaper. Brook provides sage, mature advice as she talks women out of Facebook and in-person stalking, snooping, incessant calling, and drive-bys. And then Brook gets dumped, and her mature, professional persona goes out the window.

The Breakup Doctor is a very funny, very well-written book that will appeal to any reader who’s ever been rejected. (It may actually be dangerous for the recently dumped, as it describes all kinds of destructive behaviors that perhaps an angry, hurt reader hadn’t come up with on her own.) Brook is not the typical chick lit heroine at the beginning of the book. Already coupled, she’s not searching for love – in fact, when her boyfriend Kendall proposed moving in, she didn’t immediately say yes. She has a career she’s very good at, a house that needs rehabbing, and a family in a bit of a crisis. She’s the rock steady, thoughtful person who gives the best advice.

So, truthfully, I was a bit disappointed when she became just another crazy dumped chick. This is not a knock on the book by any means – the sequences entailing Brook’s unraveling were hysterical and cringe-worthy at the same time. And as a writer, I understand that conflict is the underpinning of all stories and there is so much of that in the paradoxical character – i.e., the obese doctor, the debt-ridden financial planner, the single relationship therapist. But it was just so refreshing to read humorous women’s fiction with a stable, mature protagonist, that I was sad to see her going through her boyfriend’s email. But it was funny as hell.

There’s also a significant subplot about Brook’s parents’ split, and Brook’s never-ending, unsuccessful quest to win her mother’s approval. Fox seems to imply that a parent who cannot be pleased leads to an adult who can’t handle rejection, but the connection seemed tenuous to me.

The book did leave some major questions unanswered – just like breakups do – so I was glad to read on the book flap that The Breakup Doctor is the first in a series, and the second book should be out next year. I don’t know if Fox is taking suggestions for subsequent books, but perhaps Brook can start a sub-specialty in dealing with rejected writers who obsess over agents’ Twitter feeds. I can’t be the only one… can I?

Thanks to Phoebe Fox for the book in exchange for an honest review. She has a print version, along with a very cute tote-bag, for one lucky US/Canada reader!

How to win:
Please tell us the craziest thing you've ever done post break-up.

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted (and we do not count Google + as contact information).

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends June 11th at midnight EST.

32 comments:

Meg Munson said...

I think the craziest thing was stalking him. I kept driving my his house to see if he was home and what he was doing! (This was before FB times. LOL)

missy said...

Crying and begging to get back together. This was back in high school. I look back and think I was more hurt than anything.

Karen Hambly said...

It's been a looooong time, but probably drink too much.

Linda Kish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Kish said...

It's been so many years ago (read decades). Probably the call and hang up.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Bonnie Franks said...

It would have been back in the day...no texting or nasty tweets. I "accidentally" used to turn up wherever he was and stare and mope and "pretend" I didn't care. Captain Obvious.

Angie Young said...

Man it has been so long since I dated I can't remember. I know that with my first boyfriend, when we broke up I sat in the dark listening to music for hours on end. This was back in high school in the early 90s. Thank goodness FB and Twitter weren't around then. Those would have been some crazy posts.

Angie Young
angiey1974@hotmail.com

Janine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janine said...

I became a stalker

kinini01@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...


Called him about 50 times one right after the other to leave messages. before cell phone time. sdaf.smith2012@comcast.net

Jessica Meddick said...

I haven't really had any serious relationships so I've never done anything crazy post break-up.

Thanks!

-Jessica
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

Kimberly V said...

Nothing crazy. Just dwelled on it for too long.

k3kdpv@gmail.com

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

Well, I wrote my ex tons and tons of letters after a breakup. But I was 16, so I had an excuse. That was my only breakup. Well, where I was dumped. The other time I dumped the guy. And then at 17 I met my now husband.

Connie said...

I don't know if you would call it crazy, but when my boyfriend of many years moved away (I was just a teen), we tried to write and such, but I felt it was over. So, all those little treasures (letters, pictures, movie stubs, etc.) that I had kept over the years, were ceremoniously taken out to the big trash can and thrown in. Hands dusted and I put him behind me. However, a few years later he resurfaced to visit me in his military uniform. I was on my way out on a date with my now husband of 47 years. I just told him goodbye and left. I hope he is doing well after all these years. This may not sound crazy but I feel for a young teen my handling the breakup showed strength I never knew I had.

Since I now live in Fort Myers Florida, I believe it's a must that I read this book! It sounds terrific.

Angel Wells said...

I never was the crazy kind so when it was time to break up I just let it go.
Angel Wells
kawells1997@yahoo.com

Margie Durham said...

Maybe it doesn't seem so crazy, but I just acted like nothing happened - put on a fake happy face - acted like we were friends.

opesopinions@gmail.com

Mary Jo Burke said...

I should have uninvited him to my cousin's wedding. Never thought he would show up.

Tina said...

I put a coconut cream pie on his chair and asked him to sit down (he didn't look down and sat smack down on the pie - it felt very, very good :)

debb1955 said...

I was always the one to breakup. So, I just moved on. This was in the late 60's. debbren309atgmail.com

Jennifer Essad said...

went on a blind date - 2 weeks later after seeing each other every night we knew we wanted to marry. 33 years later we'll be celebrating our 34th anniversary - CRAZY

Anonymous said...

I got a tattoo!
melinda.garza15@yahoo.com

Melanie Backus said...

Let a wink melt my heart! We have born married nearly thirty nine years now.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Haven't done anything crazy

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Librarian Lavender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anita Yancey said...

I once wrote my ex a very long detailed letter about how much I loved him and wanted him back. It was a studip thing to do, because shortly after that I met my husband. Oh well, the things we do when we are young.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

Hailey Fish said...

Hm. I think just meeting up with my ex and wasting way too much time on that loser! If I talk about him, it's just to make fun!

fishiegirl22@yahoo.com

Kaitlyn R. said...

Thanks for such a great and detailed review! Funny and witty like the book! Congrats to Phoebe Fox on her book release TODAY!

- Kaitlyn R.
Social Media Marketing Intern
www.henerypress.com

Nova said...

Craziest thing was wanting to get back together.
sparkle40175 at hotmail dot com

PoCoKat said...

Cashed in all the loyalty points.

TinaB said...

Thinking that we could be friends after the breakup.
Brannanflooring@aol.com

Bridget O'Neill said...

I honestly can't think of anything!

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

Melissa said...

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Phoebe for sharing the book and bag with our winner.

Random.org chose one winner from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to Angie Young!