Title: The Museum of Heartbreak
Author: Meg Leder
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Synopsis: In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
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.
What was your inspiration for The Museum of Heartbreak?
I got to take a behind the scenes tour of The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and I fell in love with the place. It’s a beautiful old building full of wooden bookshelves and drawers of specimens. They have an attic where they stored elephant skulls. They had a closet of leopard skins donated by old department stores. It got me thinking about how nothing ever really goes away, not really, but how we experience it changes. And the next time I went through a breakup, I found myself thinking about it—how even though the relationship was over, I still had all these memories and experiences, like a museum.
What is your favorite quote from the book?
“Every nerve in my body was a solar system, stars and explosions and light and luminous moons.”
What is one thing you always have with you when you are writing?
My laptop. I’ve never been one to handwrite my drafts. I love typing.
When did you realize that you wanted to one day be an author?
When I read Anne of Green Gables. I loved that book. I wanted to be a writer just like Anne. And then life got in the way, and I moved on to wanting other things. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City in my late 20s that I started to think about writing again. There’s something about being in this city that’s very creatively stimulating.
What is your favorite museum and why?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one! But one of my favorites is the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. It’s hard to tell if it’s a museum or an art installation piece or both. Every time I’ve gone, it’s been dimly lit and there’s strange, slightly ominous music playing. I love that it doesn’t try to explain itself too much, and that it curates strange things—the one time I got to see an exhibit of art created on the head of pins.
What is one museum you hope to one day visit?
The Emily Dickinson Museum at her Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. She’s one of my favorite writers, and I’d love to get to see the space she wrote in.
Meet The Author
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.
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