Today, I have a really fun post for you as part of my stop on the official blog tour for The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, which is in stores now. (And be sure to keep reading for your chance to win a copy!)
In the book, Penelope curates a “museum” of items to cope with the heartbreaks of growing up (first romances, friendships, etc.). And I love how the cover captures this idea of a “museum” of the keepsakes we hold onto over the years. I, myself, am prone to hanging onto little keepsakes — there is even a box buried deep in my garage with lord knows what, collected over my teenage years.
But even as an adult, I tend to hang onto little mementos. Some items are more useful than others — a book, a piece of jewelry, a decorative item — while others are exactly what you’d expect; little trinkets or scraps of paper with no real, physical purpose other than being a reminder of certain people and places and moments.
So while I don’t really keep a museum of heartbreak, I do keep a “museum” of sorts. Here is a peek at my museum:
These are just a few of the keepsakes I am still holding onto, and most are from more recent years. Like I said, there’s a box (or maybe two) in my garage, and other goodies tucked throughout my house. (The older pieces above include my high school & college graduation cap tassels, far right, and the teddy bear from my childhood. Both of the books are older, as well. I received The Golden Compass in 6th grade, and Perks in 11th grade.)
Here’s a close-up look at some these items & more about what they all mean to me:
My two best friends bought this necklace — and matching ones for themselves — in secret during my bachelorette party in Disneyland. The surprised me with the matching necklaces at the end of the night!
This is my button from my sister-in-law’s bridal shower last summer. I was SO excited to become an auntie — and almost a year later, I love actually BEING an auntie.
Right out of college until early 2012, I worked as a writer and producer in the local TV news business. These are a couple mementos from my time there. The extra caps are from the cap guns we would sometimes fire off in the newsroom at 1am (because how else are you going to let off steam?) and the patch I actually picked up on my honeymoon when we visited Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, to commemorate the Space Shuttle program. I produced coverage of many take-offs and landings, and even coordinated a live interview with a local astronaut when he was stationed on the International Space Station. I’m a huge, passionate nerd for all-things NASA and space-related, so it was a true privilege to cover the Space Program through to its retirement.
A couple mementos from my first ever trip to New York City in 2011.
These are the inscriptions on my two most prized books — signed copies of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (I was in 7th grade when I met him and had this book signed), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was actually visiting the set of the Perks movie adaptation and interviewing the cast when I met Stephen Chbosky, and had the chance to interview him. We weren’t supposed to ask for autographs, but he saw my book — and I’d already gushed to him about how much his book changed my life and how much it has meant to me ever since I read it for the first time when I was 16 years old — and offered to sign it for me. Of course I said yes. Incredible experience.
These are just a few keepsakes of my own love story with my husband. The glass heart is something Derek made for me on our first Valentine’s Day; he’d arranged for both of us to make hearts at a local glass shop, and this is the one he made for me. The ring is actually the promise ring he gave me when we moved in together, a few months before he proposed. It’s a black pearl, which he chose because (1) I love pearls and (2) the Pirate of the Caribbean reference, which is something we both love. The “wishing star” is a token from our honeymoon to Walt Disney World; it was on the table during our fancy pants meal at Cinderella’s Castle. And the note is from the first time he sent me flowers, the day after our second date. Like, straight up had them delivered to my door in a vase and everything.
And finally, this guy — Bear Bear. I’ve had this teddy bear since my first Christmas, when I was only 4 months old, and he’s been with me for EVERYTHING — as you can see from his wear and tear. But I still cherish this guy. He’s looking quite dapper here because I haven’t had the hard to change his outfit from when I got married 2.5 years ago, and he was my “something old.” The “Yay!” flag he’s holding is also a keepsake from our wedding; guests waved them after we kissed at the end of our ceremony.
FOR THE COMMENTS: What things are in your personal “museum”? (And feel free to ask any questions about the items I’ve featured; I’m happy to answer them for you.)
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.
A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. Her role models are Harriet the Spy and Anne Shirley. She is the coauthor of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit her on Twitter at @MegLeder.
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