It's just like Dad's gone off to work early or something. And in the evening, its like he's away on a business trip. Except it isn't the same, because Mum's trying too hard to be cheerful and capable, and the girls are still trying hard not to cry, and there's a kind of space behind everything we do, a gap we don't know how to fill, a big unsureness about everything, about why we're all here together, and I catch Alexa watching Mum, just watching her, as if she's afraid she might leave home too.
Teenage Fliss is caught in an unbearable situation. While her little sisters are too young to know what is going on, Fliss can see that their parents' relationship is degenerating into hatred and recrimination. To mentally escape from this nightmare, she begins to lean too heavily on her boyfriend Simon, making him the single most important thing in her life. Eventually, although he cares, the pressure becomes too much and Simon leaves Fliss to face her problems on her own.
Breaking Up has an inherent and endearing honesty about teenage emotional needs and doesn't shrink from describing the extent of the unhappiness that Fliss experiences. But the book is also about the emergence of hope and maturity. Fliss comes to realise some hard and uncomfortable truths. She understands that growing up is about realising that there is no longer anyone who can tell you that "everything is going to be alright". She knows that sometimes things will work out and sometimes they won't but whatever happens, she will be stronger in the end.