Weekly Wire
NewCityNet Heartache Harris

By Shelly Ridenour

APRIL 17, 2000: 

Breakup Girl to the Rescue! : A Superhero's Guide to Love, and Lack Thereof by Lynn Harris (Back Bay Books) $14

It was obviously of fate that, the night before I was to interview BreakupGirl.com co-creator -- Lynn Harris, I ran into two exes: one I hadn't seen in nearly seven years, so long that I was nothing but giddy-thrilled by the encounter; and the most recent ouch, who I'm trying hard not to be giddy-thrilled to see.

"Here's what 'over' means: Gone, yes. Forgotten, as if," Harris writes in her new book, "Breakup Girl to the Rescue!" "Butterflies when we think of that person, maybe always. The difference is this: The itty-bitty 'over' butterflies flit around and whisper, 'Ooh, ooh, looky looky, there's that person who was a big part of my life... ' They are not icky moths that hang out and chew holes in stuff."

Harris is no Dear Abby, dispensing polite cliches in the name of "help." Her advice is uncompromising, straightforward, sassy and often exactly what you need to hear, even if you don't want to hear it. (For example, "Don't send mind-gaming "I miss you" cards and e-mails; don't call to see if your ex is 'OK.' That's what spies are for.") While Breakup Girl started out exclusively helping people get through breakups, she now handles all kinds of relationship issues -- from meeting parents to living with the ghosts of your beloved's exes. Still, Harris says, "The most commonly asked question, is 'How can you break up with someone without hurting their feelings?' Yeah, you can do that -- in bizarro world."

Breakup Girl was born while Harris and co-creator/illustrator Chris Kalb were working on "He Loved Me, He Loves Me Not," a humorous book about surviving breakups. "We thought, 'Let's give this book some character -- in fact, a character.' She's a classic superhero with a new twist. I mean, we have superheroes who can bend steel, don't we need one who can mend hearts?" From there, the two launched breakupgirl.com in 1997; Oxygen media later approached them to be a brand identity for their online site and cable television network, and Breakup Girl now stars in her own animated series and receives some 300 letters a day via e-mail.

So are there any questions left that can surprise Harris?

"I always think they can't, but then they do... like the guy who broke up with his girlfriend and then his dad married her mom. You can't make this stuff up."

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