The Yelp: A Heartbreak in Reviews by Chase Compton

100-Character Breakdown: An emotional story of heartbreak told through the untraditional blend of narrative and Yelp reviews.

Genre: Memoir, LGBTQ

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (Sept. 20, 2016)

 

the-yelpThis transformative memoir tells the story of heartbreak by taking readers to the places where a love flourished and fell apart. The Yelp: A Heartbreak in Reviews blends narrative chapters with Yelp.com reviews that provide a roadmap to author Chase Compton’s heartbreak. Compton meets “Him” in a Manhattan dive bar, and the two devour their love for all its worth in numerous locations across New York City. Compton brings readers to many of those locations—Café Mogador, the New York Public Library, 124 Old Rabbit Club—through his untraditional Yelp reviews, exploring the food and the moments that stole his heart and left him struggling to reclaim the scraps. More than anything, this is a memoir about surviving the kind of heartbreak that tears a person apart, leaving an empty pit in their stomach.

What makes this memoir standout is its original method of storytelling. Compton’s use of Yelp reviews is strange and almost nonsensical, but it provides an interesting outlook on him as a person. The locations he reviews become characters of their own as readers learn about Compton and the man he only describes as “Him.” At times this memoir almost feels too dramatic, but this is all part of Compton’s genuine exploration of heartbreak. His candor is what makes the book relatable. At times his pain is accompanied by an entertaining moment of laughter or joyous remembrance. All of this emotion comes alive with vibrant writing and Compton’s honest, entertaining voice.

The Yelp is also about more than Compton’s love affair with “Him.” It’s about his love affair with New York City. That love affair comes across best in the Yelp reviews; in fact, the Yelp reviews are the foundation that this memoir stands upon. The narrative chapters are strong, but it is the reviews that readers will find themselves rereading. The places Compton visits are full of atmosphere and character, and the distinctive way he shares his heartbreak makes this memoir well worth the read.

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