What’s the story?
“Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me” is one of those books that tells you pretty much everything that it’s about in the title. The main character, Freddy, is infatuated with Laura Dean, but this is not an equal relationship. Laura Dean is with Freddy whenever it’s convenient for her to be and breaks up with Freddy whenever she feels like it, repeatedly. The book provides an extensive look at what a toxic relationship is like. Freddy thinks that Laura Dean is better than her and is just happy to take whatever scraps of affection she can get. All of Freddy’s friends try to tell her that she can do better than Laura, but Freddy suffers from the same relationship pitfalls that we’re all vulnerable to. It is impossible to be impartial about a relationship that you are in. It’s hard to imagine yourself without this person or with someone else. You think that no one around you can understand how you feel. Freddy suffers from all these problems and more as she navigates the complexities of her romantic relationship with Laura Dean and the connections she has with her friends and other people around her.
Who do we see in this book?
There’s a lot of different cultural representation, with Freddy herself being Asian American and having friends that are presented as Caucasian and African American. As a book about a queer relationship, there are a lot of secondary characters who are presented as being in different types of relationships. Parents presented in this book demonstrate healthy adult relationships and are caring and supportive of the decisions of their children. The book actually comes off as so diverse and positive (outside of a couple of the events) that I’d say it’s a bit of a rosier version of reality than actually exists. Not that I find that to be a problem as fiction authors are allowed to present a world that they want to live in and there is plenty of space for all kinds of views about how the world could be better.
How are the feels?
It’s a book about relationships, so there are certainly some attempts to pull at the heartstrings, but overall it didn’t connect that much with me. This may be because I (I’m pretty sure) have generally been in positive relationships and I’ve certainly never felt emotionally abused even when things didn’t work out. I get that the point is for Freddy to be making bad decisions, but I found myself repeating over and over for her to just listen to the people around her. I actually got the strongest emotional reaction from an event that happens to Freddy’s best friend, Doodle. This is, of course, very subjective and someone who has been in similar relationships might rank this a lot higher on the feels scale!