Review: Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras

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Day One, 19:00H:

I began reading Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras after finishing the short Torn Hearts prequel. Suffice it to say, I began to get that ugly, gurgling feeling that I’m not gonna like this one.

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Ms. Contreras’ heroine, Mia Bennett, is the epitome of someone who has a paper heart. She’s got paper-thin self-confidence, covering it up with no-filter sassiness and false bravado. She’s wishy-washy as hell. The type of girl who loves him, hates him, likes him, has uncontrollable sex with him, loves him, hates him, loves him, etc. etc. etc. In short, she’s boring – a one-dimensional character whose story has been told time and again. Her paper heart is flat and small. At first, I thought I could relate to her. I am, after all, the type of person who can forgive, but cannot forget. Once I’m done with you, I’m done. Mia? She’s the type whom I just don’t get, neither in reel life nor in the real one.

Jensen, on the other hand, has a paper heart that’s as thin and as scrunched up in a ball as Mia’s. He loves her, lets her go, loves her, gets jealous, falls into the vagina of another girl, impregnates the other girl, marries her, but oh-shite-that-fickle-FICKLE-heart, he still loves Mia. He constantly chases after her, despite her Road Runner tendencies whenever they hit a bump on the road. His Carrie Bradshaw-ness is (forgive me, world) weird. If anyone who reads this blog can point me towards a nationally and traditionally published column such as “Jensen Talks,” please do tell me, so I can avoid it at all costs.

Ms. Contreras’ writing is excellent, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be reading Elastic Hearts as soon as I get done with this torturous book, but “Paper Hearts” is just NOT for me.

Day Two, 21:00H:

Upon reflecting on “Paper Hearts” and its lovelorn lovers, I have to wonder: why bother? Why do we bother with second-chance or second-hand love? Why should men continue chasing after women who, clearly, JUST love being chased? Why do men and women constantly subject themselves to romantic love that has already gone awry? Why can’t women like Mia just stop? From this girl’s third-person POV, reading this kind of sob story is very tiring, and makes me want to cover my head and sleep.

Then, I remember, “Kaleidoscope Hearts” was the opposite. Show me a strong woman who can stand on her own two feet, can use her two hands, can think logically with her brain, can have great sex, can have fun, can love wholeheartedly, and cannot be ruled by her vagina. Show me a woman who knows and can execute the true meaning of “moving on.” Show me a woman who knows her self-worth. That’s who I want to be. That’s who I want to read about.

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If you love ‘im, let ‘im go. If he comes crawling back, ask yourself: can you live without him? Can you talk civilly with him even if you don’t succumb to his sexy eyes, words, and body? If you can answer yes to those questions, then, okay, show him in. Show him your once paper heart that he’s turned into a three-dimensional papier-mâché one. Make him see your strength. That? Kim Approved!

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