Overall, I liked it. It wasn't subject matter I'd have chosen, but I was glad to see it dealt with in a... well, a matter-of-fact kind of way. Having been saturated for five years with propaganda and rhetoric, I was kind of dreading playing through this expecting either politics or played-out mawkishness. As it was it was pretty powerful and personal without being silly.
If I had a criticism, it would be that the scenes between flashbacks seemed a little pointless. They seemed in places more like punctuation to pace the story than worthwhile scenes in their own right.
For this reason: for kids who were born post 9/11. For them, 9/11 is like a little black cloud always hanging over their head. Perhaps it's a bit optimistic on my part, but I hope that 10 years, 15 years, 20 years from now, people born after 9/11 will look at Broken Hearted, and catch a glimpse of what life was like before 9/11, and before the word "terrorism" is a part of daily life.
It's possibly glib for me to say anything, living in non-central UK, knowing no-one in NYC at the time and never having lost anyone close to me to anything more malevolent than cancer (although I do have several very good friends who live in London, and have done for years), but... I'm optimistically confident that the word 'terrorism' will be as... meaningless and empty to people 20 years on as 'the threat of communism' is to people today. Not to suggest that terrorism itself will go away, even necessarily reduce in risk, but it's dwelled upon today by the public consciousness totally out of proportion with the impact on most people's lives. Twenty or so years ago there were still people expecting nuclear war with Soviet Russia at any moment - in twenty more years' time I have little doubt that people with have had time to rationalise the actual threat terrorism represents over the emotional impact.
Conversely, I think that character pieces like this are more likely to be appreciated by people in twenty years' time for their alternate insight into the effects of the event itself. According to Wikipedia, in the year of my birth terrorists blew up a Bologna railway station and killed 85 people
. I know of this event only from a cold historical perspective; I imagine there was a similar, albeit smaller-scale, rush of confusion and misery, transport was probably suspended for a day or so, but all I know is the numbers.
- Two small bugs: "Heather turns to Nat." should rather be "Heather turns to me", and "I'll pick you up when classes are over" etc. should be spoken by Heather.
IIRC, also, Jack's referred to by the pronoun 'her' when he calls Nat asking after Heather.