Skip to main content

Book Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Ruby is having panic attacks. Her boyfriend has broken up with her, none of her friends are speaking with her, her ride to school won't take her anymore, and her parents are sure she is feeling suicidal or anorexic. Welcome to the story of The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, a masterful look inside the life of a teenage girl. This girl is every girl. Reading this book was like looking back at parts of my past, and it was amazing and painful to take the journey with her.

Lockhart writes truthfully on the way a girl thinks about boys. Ruby reveals pieces of her life one bit at a time. Her therapist asks her to create a boyfriend list: a list of every guy she has liked, dated, thought about dating, kissed, or had a special relationship with. Ruby isn't sure how this is going to help her solve her immediate problem: getting her boyfriend back and getting life back to normal. But as she examines each boy on the list, Ruby may discover she's not the victim she thinks she is.


Lockhart is spot on. Ruby is like a poster child for the things women do to screw up their lives. We fall for a guy, and when he doesn't end up being prince charming, what do we do? We beg, plead, cajole, manipulate, and lower ourselves--do anything but the thing we should do: pack our bags and move on. I wanted to be hard on her, but she is so dang sympathetic it's impossible.

I think this book has it all: teenage angst, unhealed wounds, a journey of self-discovery, a lot of pain, and also hope for the future. Also, I think most girls would admit they could relate to at least one of the stories in this book.

Here are things I have done that Ruby did:
  1. Wait by the phone for a guy to call
  2. Allow myself to be a victim of heartbreak
  3. Flirt with one of my friend's boyfriends
  4. Not be honest with myself about my motives
  5. Kiss a guy to make myself feel better
  6. Feel tremendous pain at betrayal
  7. Not take action to change my future
I have to hand it to Ruby, though, she does make progress eventually, as everyone must if they want to heal. As I was reading this book, I was thinking it was similar to the book/movie High Fidelity. In that story, the male protagonist tries to discover the answer to the age-old question "Why does this always happen to me?" by looking back on his 5 most painful break-ups. Like Ruby, he even asks some of the women directly, "Why did you break up with me?" In each case, Rob discovers it wasn't just because he was unlovable or ugly, but rather a case of the wrong time or a misunderstanding or some such thing.
E. Lockhart has a great future as a writer, and I recommend this book highly to any teenage girl from age 14 and up.
Other Reviews:
A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
Goddess Librarian

Comments

Brian Mandabach said…
Wow. This also sounds like a must for boys who want to know what's going on inside those mysteries wrapped in enigma that they love so much. I'm going to pass this on

Popular posts from this blog

Border (2018): A Dark Swedish Fairy Tale

Have you ever felt like you are alone? Like you exist and move around in a community of people that you are nothing like?

Imagine how Tina feels. She works as a highly competent border guard for the sole reason that her sense of smell is extrasensory. She can smell fear, shame, and any negative emotion on people as they cross through her security area, and she is never wrong about her suspicions. Her work career, however, might be the only thing she has going for her.

She lives on the outskirts of town with a boyfriend that owns a pack of dogs, and from all counts, they live together in a loveless domestic arrangement that is hard to imagine either of them conceiving. Things become a little clearer later as we learn that Tina owns the home and the boyfriend is enjoying the luxury of living rent free. Tina appears to have no family except for the man she calls father, who claims to have adopted her.

Tina is unattractive by human standards and is most often seen staring attentively and …

Yes, You Can: Take a Vacation by Yourself

This is part of my Solo Living: Yes You Can series. Click here to find the intro and all the topics. Solo vacationing can be one of the most freeing and relaxing ways to travel. I'm sure you can think of at least one time when you took a trip only to have your getaway ruined by your companion.

I love a good vacation. There's nothing better than taking a few days off to decompress and get away from the stress of life. In my family, even when we didn't have a lot of money, it was considered important to have these little weekends. Sometimes we stayed with a family member. Sometimes, we would drive an hour away to the closest big city and spend a night in the Holiday Inn Holidome (remember those?). We thought that was big stuff. There was an indoor pool and a video game arcade. Sometimes Mom and Dad would go out for dinner, and we three girls would get to order pizza and watch TV ALONE.

It wasn't always easy sharing a hotel room with 5 people, 4 of them being female. We …

Roma (2018) Movie Review: A Window into the Life of a Working Class Woman

For every person who keeps their hands clean and smooth from doing heavy duty manual labor, there are people who work thanklessly in the background, making life comfortable for those few. This is the subject of Roma, a film set in Mexico City with original screenplay written in Spanish. Roma takes one of those hardworking people and brings her front and center.

Cleo is the housekeeper of a middle-class family in the 1970s. She cleans the house, cleans the dog poo off the house entrance, brings the family tea, and serves them at mealtime. Cleo comes across as diligent, hardworking, sweet, shy, non-demanding, and loving. The children seem to adore her. She is a constant in their lives, and they treat her as one would expect a person who demands or expects nothing in return. At times, she’s like wallpaper. Other times, they are affectionate with her and desire her attention.

There isn’t much plot to this movie. Cleo does have some romantic adventures and deals with an unexpected pregna…