Reviewing the Past to Enlighten the Future
'It's Not Me, It's You' by Stephanie Kate Strohm provides a unique and somewhat irregular look into the dynamics of breakups. Main character Avery decides to do one of her final senior projects from a historical viewpoint, but not in a way that has ever been done before, at least not in Ms. Segerson's classroom. She figures that, after getting dumped within a week before prom, that the best way to figure out why she can't sustain a relationship is to interview each and every one of her past boyfriends. From a boy who is way too close to his mother to a real cowboy to a TV star, a tennis player, and a whole slew of others, one might wonder when Avery has time to do anything other than be in a relationship. Yet she maintains good grades, hangs out with her best friend, Coco, and works rigorously on science reports with her lab partner, Hutch.
Even though it was interesting to read about all of the different types of people with whom Avery spent time, it became a bit too much after a while. Not that it's not believable for a senior in high school to have gone through one to two, or sometimes more, relationships in a given school year, but if several of her boyfriends had been cut from the book, it still would have read well and not taken away from the point that was trying to be made. Avery likes being with someone. It doesn't affect who she is, but she still needed to try to form a hypothesis as to why she couldn't keep a boyfriend. Often she broke up with them, or it just fizzled out, but there was always some underlying issue that made Avery realize each person just was not right for her.
There was some predictability to how the novel ended, but even though it was expected, it was also appreciated. Avery's strongest relationships were often the ones she didn't think too hard about, and this shows how sometimes what you take for granted is often some of the best of what someone has, and he or she just needs to learn to realize that and take note of it more often. By doing so, people like Avery can no longer wonder about the past because they will be more steadfast about their present and future.