Forgiveness is a pretty average word with a huge meaning when you think about it. I mean a lot rides on one’s ability to forgive. Whether forgiving yourself or someone else it is key to moving on and growing. This kind of forgiveness is exactly what Melissa Walker’s book Unbreak My Heart is about.
Unbreak My Heart is the story of sixteen year old Clem and her summer sailing with her family. Once upbeat and happy Clementine is now depressed and feels guilty because she did the one thing no friend should ever do. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and lost everything in the process. Stuck on a boat for the summer with no connection to what are left of her friends, Clem only has her thoughts and guilt to get her through the summer. That is until she meets James and her summer takes a turn causing her to realize what it means to be forgiven and to actual forgive.
Set on the beautiful landscape of the water, a serene sort of escape for the main character, Walker really pulled my heart strings with this one. The story unfolds in present time where we see Clem living with the consequences of her actions which are revealed via flashback. I must admit I’m a sucker for these kind of stories where the girl falls for her best friend’s guy. I have a soft spot for them for some reason and usually find a way to justify why the main character would think do that to her friend.
Given that, it was interesting to see that Walker’s rendition of this type of scenario was different. She told it in a way that made me question Clem’s actions switching back and forth between justifying them and finding them unforgivable. In the end, as the story progressed my heart started to melt and I actually felt bad for Clem. What she did was wrong, but it was fixable if she just gave it half a chance. Being young and relatively naive to romance she thought there was something there with a boy who appeared to understand and like her. In this way she couldn’t be to much at fault. Furthermore, Clem felt guilt and remorse, emotions I appreciated most because they made her likeable in the end.
What bothered me most was Ethan’s (the friend’s boyfriend) role in all of this. Like the saying goes, it takes two to tango and cheating isn’t an exception to that rule. Clem didn’t act alone. He was just as much to blame as she was and yet he got off scot-free while she was treated like the social outcast. Sure she broke the friend code, but he broke the relationship code and instead of manning up he turned the whole thing on Clem like he did nothing. He was cowardly and childish.
Then on the other hand there was James. Adorable James that was there for Clem when she thought no one would be there for her again. With his prodding and gentleness he got her to open up and be the Clem she once was and showed her that things are always as bad as them seem. The end of the world to you is a good day to other people.
Unbreak My Heart was a great story about growing up and figuring out who you are, what can be fixed and how to forgive. It is a story about different relationships from friendship to love and I found it pretty remarkable. Walker definitely has a way about her words that gets you thinking and I find that pretty extraordinary.