Review of Wen Hsiao by Hannah Forsdike
Through exploration of her own experiences, eighteen-year-old writer, Wen Hsiao, deciphers romantic relationships and broken hearts in her book Not The One: An Exploration on Love and Heartbreak.
‘…it was putting our friendship in jeopardy, but I wanted to do so anyways. I was hung up on everything he said, and nothing and no one could’ve changed my mind…’
The book will be fittingly released on Valentines Days, February 14, and available for pre-sale February 7. Hsiao kindly shared the first few chapters with us in advance.
Hsiao is no stranger to writing her personal experience; she has been published with Ramona Magazine for Girls among others, dabbling in personal essays, informative articles, and poetry.
The book is a collection of 10 personal essays and short stories; exploring what Hsiao has determined constitutes the 10 stages of love and heartbreak. These stages are infatuation, balance, understanding, love, the break-up, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Along with Hsiao’s words Not The One: An Exploration on Love and Heartbreak features illustrations by the authors friend, seventeen-year-old Hannah Kang. Since meeting freshmen year, the girls have always loved working together artistically. Although this book was a new challenge for both of them, the illustrations perfectly punctuate these personal essays.
I found Hsiao’s writing mature and insightful, and what I read certainly provoked self-examination. I can’t say I have ever read such a thorough exploration of love written by someone so young, I feel like this is the kind of writing I looked for as a teenager. I needed something I could relate to written by someone my own age. Too often teenager’s relationships and experiences are belittled by people who have long forgotten what their first heartbreak felt like. In saying this I don’t think this book is limited to teenaged readers, as a 24-year-old I still found Hsiao’s writing relatable, and somewhat nostalgic. I think anyone who has experienced heartbreak or the breakdown of a relationship (romantic or otherwise) at some point would be able to find a connection with this book.
Not The One: An Exploration on Love and Heartbreak attempts to formulate modern romance. While trying to figure out what usually goes wrong in romantic relationships, Hsiao’s breaks down each developmental stage of love in search of red flags. Call it a manual, a warning, or a ‘mouthful of bitter-sweetness and a harsh after taste of regret’ as described my Wen Hsiao herself. Above all this is a deeply personal, exploration of love through the eyes of a teenage girl.
Order your very own copy of Not The One: An Exploration on Love and Heartbreak.