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Eliminating Growth-inducing Heartbreak

Anjanette Delgado tells the story of a professional Latina who loses her bearings

Published on LatinoLA: June 2, 2008


Eliminating Growth-inducing Heartbreak


It isn‘«÷t often that contemporary ‘«£chick-lit‘«ō concerns itself with research-based, scientific theories of love. For that matter, it isn‘«÷t often that Time Magazine delves into the field of romance novels. So when the issue of love and pain pops up in both, within weeks of each other, we might wonders if the apparently shallow topic of romantic heartbreak may not be quietly entering the realm of current events, as relevant to the future of society as the centuries-long, global trade wars.

In an age where people still have safety concerns about having a ‘«£potentially-emotional‘«ō woman president, Anjanette Delgado‘«÷s ‘«£The Heartbreak Pill,‘«ō tells the story of a professional in the cusp of her career as a scientist, who loses her bearings in the midst of shocking betrayal. She then uses her knowledge of organic chemistry, and her position as head of research at an upstart drug company, to create a pill that will eliminate the pain of love for all mankind; all while (initially) sidestepping FDA watchdogs and using herself as a guinea pig.

Notwithstanding the literate humor of this debut novel‘«÷s ensuing Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde scenario, or the irony and the surprising depth of the heroine‘«÷s arguments for her actions, the fact that it‘«÷s not a fantasy or sci-fi novel, presupposes that this premise is actually possible and, even more controversially, that it is needed.

‘«£It‘«÷s absolutely possible,‘«ō says Delgado. ‘«£There‘«÷s a fantastic amount of scientific proof, readily available in everything from popular magazines to scientific journals to prove that love is indeed in our brains and that we could, and should, at least attempt having a say in what it does to us. In fact, the nature and depth of a person‘«÷s love for someone can already be confirmed by viewing the changes caused by the direct correlation between feeling and the chemical imbalances of certain substances in our brains. These are the substances that Erika is wreaking havoc with in the novel.‘«ō

When Delgado talks about scientific proof, she‘«÷s undoubtedly referring to modern-daylove doyenne, Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University Anthropologist who‘«÷s written books such as ‘«£Anatomy of Love‘«ō and ‘«£Why We Love‘«ō to both critical and popular acclaim. According to Fisher, ‘«£perhaps no single phrase in all of literature so clearly captures the essence of passionate romantic love (better than): a state of need.‘«ō Fisher, who has conducted wide-ranging studies on humans over a period of time using advanced brain-scan machines such as FMRIs, writes that human need for emotional union with their beloved is so intense that it is capable of blurring the lover‘«÷s sense of self.‘«ō

But, getting back to the quest at the‘«™ uh, heart, of ‘«£The Heartbreak Pill,‘«ō how lofty a goal is eliminating growth-inducing heartbreak?

‘«£We‘«÷re playing with fire when we say to people, ‘«ˇyou‘«÷ll get over him or her,‘«ō says Delgado. ‘«£It‘«÷s one thing to eat like a pig or make prank calls after a breakup. It‘«÷s another to suppose that that‘«÷s the extent of how deep it can cut. We have only to look at the numbers of people killed by previously-stable, non-violent partners, or at the statistics for leading causes of suicide among the widowed and the divorce. These are not all emotionally-immature people losing their minds all of a sudden. There‘«÷s something going on in their brains. Something they‘«÷re unable to deal with. That‘«÷s the heartbreak Erika‘«÷s trying to cure.‘«ō

You see, in a world where people still wonder if ‘«£we‘«÷re ready to elect a woman candidate,‘«ō and where most of the people who engage the question readily admit that it‘«÷s their notion that ‘«£excess emotion is dangerous,‘«ō that brings up the question in the first place, to write about the need for medicine for our broken hearts could seem like a bit of an anti-feminist position.

Surprisingly, if only because it‘«÷s usually not the stuff of chick-lit novels, the research suggests otherwise.

‘«£There is no doubt that love affects our brains and our health. If you are happy with someone and that happiness creates a physiological bond that you come to need, it‘«÷s not a farfetched motion to say that the heartbroken or abandoned person would become unbalanced by the development.

‘«£Lovers crave emotional union with a beloved. Without this connection to a sweetheart, they feel acutely incomplete or hollow, as if an essential part of them is missing. The lover becomes unique, all important‘«™ perhaps this is due, says Fisher to human inability to feel romantic passion for more than one person at a time.

‘«£I have written a book about: What happens to us when heartbreak happens? How crucial is this? How does our heartbreak affect society? How can the pill be created?‘«ō

Erika Luna is a thirty-something scientist living and working in Miami. When her husband of seven years, the very successful, very smart, very good-looking, founding partner of one of Miami‘«÷s most successful public relations firms, falls in lust with another woman, their marriage spirals to hell and Erika‘«÷s practical nature leads her down the strangest of paths.

What‘«÷s a scientist to do when slapped with pain so deep it interferes with breathing? Try to cure it, of course!

This is the premise of Emmy award-winning writer and producer Anjanette Delgado‘«÷s delightfully funny and touchingly poignant debut novel, "The Heartbreak Pill", published by Atria Books.

Anjanette Delgado is a high concept writer in the Hollywood tradition. She began her career as a journalist, working for outlets such as NBC, CNN, Univisi??n, and Telemundo, covering presidential coups, elections, the Olympics, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and both Iraq wars. She has written for Urban Latino, TV M?Ūs, and the International Documentary Association magazine, written and produced lifestyle programs and documentaries for MGM Latin America, and in 2002, wrote and developed the sitcom ‘«£Great in Bed‘«ō for HBO Latin America.

Hip, smart, and utterly significant in today‘«÷s world of Match.com and E-Harmony, "The Heartbreak Pill" will make readers laugh (at some of their past actions done in the name of love), and feel hope that love is out there‘«Ųand that they don‘«÷t have to sacrifice themselves to find it.

The Heartbreak Pill





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