BreakupBabe: A Novel

Seattle blogger turns her heartache, and recovery, into fiction.

Rebecca Agiewich's first book—which almost certainly fictionalizes entries from her blog (breakupbabe.blogspot.com)—casts heroine Rachel as a Northwest everywoman: loving the outdoors as much as the cocktail lounges, commuting east over the lake on the "Highway to Hell" to the Microsoft-like "Empire Corporation," editing technical documentation when not obsessively checking her personal e-mail. If that sounds familiar, so is the cause of Rachel's blogging. At 34, she's just been dumped by the man she thought she'd marry, yet they continue to work in the same office—where she can't afford to quit. Thus, each day is a roller coaster of emotion, as Rachel begins the life-affirming and foolish exercise of blogging about it. As someone experienced in that form of therapy, it's easy to sympathize with Rachel's choice to take her issues public, though it's bound to lead to trouble. On one hand, her musings on love and loneliness paint an unflattering portrait of a neurotic, needy woman. Rachel composes half her entries while scrutinizing happy couples in Capitol Hill coffee shops, and half at work (when not weeping under her desk). But while her self-esteem skyrockets in tandem with her readership, Rachel's blog isn't strictly the woe-is-me variety. A proud adventuress and tart, she rebounds from "the Great Unpleasantness" of her breakup by dating a motley crew of men and otherwise enjoying life. So what makes BreakupBabe, written in the form of blogs, e-mail, and first-person narration, different from standard chick lit? On the surface, not a lot. Rachel battles her alter egos, "Sensible Girl" and "Needy Girl," and takes reinforcement from "General Celexa." Her obsessive scrutiny of her daily torments will prove tedious for readers already sated on the spawn of Bridget Jones. Yet those who already read Agiewich's blog will probably be fascinated as they look for real-life correspondences and embellished facts. For women with writerly aspirations, like Agiewich's fellow members of the Seattle Writergrrls organization, BreakupBabe is worth reading for its very emphasis on the process of writing. Fully aware of the blogger-turned-author phenomenon, Rachel plunges into the act with a monk's dedication. From the heated beginnings of an impulsive public journal, she eventually realizes her literary potential, which has nothing—and everything—to do with dating.

 
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