Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review ~ THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME, by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces? ~From GoodReads 



THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME is the story of Brie, almost sixteen years old, who literally dies of a broken heart when her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her. From the very first time I laid eyes on this book in a WoW post, I've wanted to read it. I was sold on the premise, and yes, the cover.

But CATASTROPHIC HISTORY also appealed to me for a unique personal reason. My grandmother was the daughter of an Italian immigrant. He was reeealllyyy old when he married her mother (that is an awesome story for another time) and let's just say, the Italian Stallion otherwise known as Paulo Cerrutti got around. He had been married two or three times before he married my great-grandmother. He had several children from his previous marriages, one of these children was a daughter, an actress on vaudeville. This daughter, whose name I don't remember, had a husband, also an actor. My grandmother said that her sister loved her husband with desperation and was very happy. Like many marriages in showbiz (you know things were swinging in the early 1900's, right?), the husband became smitten with another younger, more beautiful actress, breaking my great-aunt's heart. She never recovered from the betrayal and died a few months later of what my grandmother adamantly stated was a broken heart (never mind the fact that she was reportedly morbidly obese). So, understandably, as a romantic with a love for tragic love stories, this stuck with me. Flash forward twenty-five years later, and you can see why I felt I must read CATASTROPHIC HISTORY.

I fell quickly, completely head over heels in love with the story. Author Jess Rothenberg has one of the best "voices" I've been fortunate enough to read, ever. I felt a tremendous sense of lightness and joy while reading CATASTROPHIC HISTORY. With Rothenberg's guidance, Brie becomes a character who engages and enchants, due in large part to the "stream of consciousness" style of narration that is employed. Even when Rothenberg delved into the grief and unbearable sadness Brie experiences, the writing manages to bring you through the pain without bringing you down.

The "Child of the 80's" in me was ridiculously happy while reading this. Actually, anyone who loves most music and pop culture will love it.  Each chapter is titled with the name or lyrics from a song. I love when authors do this, because it sets the tone for the chapter and lends anticipation for what's ahead. Plus, PLUS, the soul helping Brie navigate the afterlife is a hot guy Patrick, who looks suspiciously like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

The actual story of CATASTROPHIC HISTORY deals with Brie's journey through the Five Stages of Grief. Each stage is given it's own section in the book, beginning with Denial. In addition to the stages, Brie also, by visiting her old life, learns some hard lessons about the life she thought she knew. How many of us are guilty of seeing only what we want to see? Are blinded by wanting something or someone so much, that we can't see things for the way they really are? The truths Brie uncovers help her hopefully move on, leaving her and those she's left behind, in peace.

The only bit of problem I had with CATASTROPHIC HISTORY was the huge twist revealed in the last portion of the book. I didn't have an actual problem with the plot itself, it was insanely cool and I totally didn't see it coming. The problem was I had a bit of trouble understanding exactly how it occurred and how it was resolved. Like I said, it was cool idea, I didn't understand it one hundred percent.

I can't wait to read anything Jess Rothenberg writes next. She has the special ability to make readers cry, laugh, and even better, smile while you're tearing up. THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME is one of my favorite books of 2012. It's a beautiful, bittersweet story of love, friendship, sacrifice and letting go.


 Favorite Quote:

"Love is no game. People cut their ears off over this stuff. People jump off the Eiffel Tower and sell all their possessions and move to Alaska to live with the grizzly bears, and then they get eaten and nobody hears them when they scream for help. That's right. Falling in love is pretty much the same thing as being eaten alive by a grizzly bear.

Believe me, I should know." (pg 3, ARC)





Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Penguin Young Readers Group

You can purchase THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME at:
Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

26 comments:

  1. I'm so looking forward to this book! I love the story about your great-grandmother too. I love it when I read a great story that I have a personal tie too. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Autumn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  2. OMG You redesigned your blog! I LOVE it! It's really awesome!! And I can't wait to get a copy of this book it sounds wonderful and i've herd nothing but good things. Thanks for the warning about the twist at the end though. Although I'm insanely curious now!

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    1. Thanks, Giselle! It was actually really fun to work on. I hope you get a chance to read this soon.

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  3. That's a cool story! I dunno, I've been avoiding this book because it sounded too...something. Too young, maybe? Too far fetched? Maybe I'll have to give it a shot after all.

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    1. I didn't feel it was too young. It was definitely cute and quirky though. I hope you give it a try!

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  4. That sounds great .. I wasn't plannng on picking up this one but I'm definitely reconsidering !! I love your new blog design Andrea :)!!
    Thanks for the fabulous review !!

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  5. I'm kinda with Karen on this.. I haven't been specifically avoiding it.. but dying of a broken heart at that age seems a little far fetched to me. but so do Vamps and shit. I was boy crazy at that age, so if one boy rejected me, I had a long list of other boys who I thought were cute.

    I really do want to read this though. And that's so cool you shared that story. It's sad, but I can see how it plays into your feelings for this book.

    Love love love your new blog design. Very cute. :) now you need a matching button. :o) I'll be working on my blog this weekend if I get a chance.


    In other news... I'm stuffing my face with a cheese steak right now. MMmmmm delish. lol

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    1. I was the same way about guys. In fact, I was awful to the guys who liked me. The only guy I've really been in love w/is Eric. Weird, huh?

      Thanks about the design! I've worked hard on it. Google search and I are BFFs right no. Design is actually kind of fun.

      Your cheese steak tease doesn't bother me. *sticks out tongue* I'm not a big meat eater (I know...) but if you had said cheese sticks, I'd have been all over that!

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  6. Okay first, I love the new blog design!! Second, this review was awesome. I have been back and forth on this book. I really want to read it, but then I don't know since I have so many other books to read. This review has made me go back to wanting it now.

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    1. Thabk you so much, Amy! I hope you end up giving Catastrophic History a go.

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  7. I've been wanting to read this for so long, can't wait to get my hands on it. Lovely review, makes me want to pick it up sooner than I can!
    Shellie @ Creative Reads

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    1. Hi, Shellie! I hope you get a chance to read Catastrophic History soon.

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  8. This book sounds so good! It sounds like it is going to be an amazing read! Dying of a broken heart is so sad, but it sounds like it makes for a great story. Great Review!! I love the quote you picked, it makes me want to read it even more. I also really love your new blog design, it is super cute!!

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    1. Thanks, Chandra! This book was full of amazing passages I could have used. I hope you get to read it soon.
      Thanks about the design. I'm glad you like it!

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  9. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to read this book, but your review sold me! It is officially on my TBR list! Thanks for an awesome review!

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad! I hope you get the chance to read it soon and love it!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I decided not to read this because it just sounds so sad to me. I'm avoiding sad books. I almost cried reading your review LOL Heartbreak is so difficult :-( Although now I wonder what the twist is. I read the last couple pages in Walmart and didn't hear about the twist but got a tingle in my eye so I was like nope can't read it. It sounds like a good book though the way she follows through the stages of grief and learns the truth about her life. I like an HEA though so I'll probably pass.

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    1. Awww...you're a big softie like me, Jennifer! this was a great book, but I understand. I did the exact same thing w/TFiOS.

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  11. I love the premise of this book, too! Who doesn't understand how painful it is to get your heart broken? Ugh.... It can be the most painful emotion we humans can experience.

    Your review is awesome, Andrea, making me feel like I'll enjoy this book a lot. And, the history of your family is very interesting, too. I feel so bad for your great-grandmother dying of a broken heart. That is so sad... I wonder if it really is possible to die that way because it almost seems like it is, according to so many true reports out there.

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    1. I just couldn't leave the personal story out. It's always made me wonder if broken hearts could actually happen. I hope you get a chance to read this soon.

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  13. This review is so lovely and personal, Andrea--thanks for sharing that story with us. I already wanted to read this book, but I feel like I MUST read it soon after reading your review. I already said this on GoodReads, but I *love* it!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thank you so much Wendy. I'm really glad I added that. That story always stuck w/me. I saw your GoodReads comment. You're too sweet,

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  14. One of my friends has been BEGGING me to read this book and I've solemnly vowed, after reading this great review to the pile of amazing reviews for this book, I will read this book this weekend :)

    Asher

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