7 Books To Get You Through Your Shitty Break Up
The Debrief: We don't have the magic cure, but these books should at least distract you from the pain
Break ups are crap, that’s pretty much the consensus for anyone who’s ever been in or extremely close to love and had it not end happily ever after.
But, like their cheerful counterpart – the relationship – they also vary. Your break up might be a totally dignified affair that’s followed by a Waitrose picnic on a park bench and an hour long talk about his or her new job, the one you’re genuinely excited for them to start. Or, (and this is probably more likely) it might be a tearful, insult-laden three hours of hell. Both are bloody heartbreaking, and neither will properly prepare you for, when a year down the line, you realise they’ve *now* decided to unfollow you on Twitter.
Hence this list of books isn't going to cure your aching heart straight off (sorry). Instead, think of it more as a distraction, if you will, from the fridge, the insistent Happn scrolling, and the whole of the Internet; the latter in particular sucks, as a general post-breakup rule.
1. It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History – Jennifer Wright
Because people have been suffering in this same vein since way back when and still no one has it sussed, this book invites you to gloat at the fact it could actually be worse (honestly, imagine Henry VIII was your ex). A sex and dating columnist for the New York Observer and New York Post, Wright’s 256 pages marry genuine historical fact with a tone less sobering. Think of it like a Horrible Histories for grown ups, with actual lols to be had.
2. I Should Have Said...: Quick-Witted Comebacks I Only Wish I’d Said – to Friends and Lovers – Daisy de Villeneuve
According to Amazon, customers who bought this item also splashed out on Yogabum Non-Slip Premium Yoga Mat Towels and Nespresso Capsules, but don’t let that put you off. Daisy was responsible for the illustrations on that tote you carried your Topshop pixie shoes home in in 2006. In I Should Have Said she combines that same innocent felt tip on lined paper aesthetic with shoulda woulda coulda responses.
3. Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys – Viv Albertine
The Slits’ guitarist is a babe of the highest order, and her 2014 memoir demands a place on your bookshelf whether you own Cut on vinyl or haven’t the foggiest about Typical Girls. As well as clothes, music and boys, here Albertine discusses divorce, IVF and cancer; whatever you’re going through she probably owns several of the T-shirts.
4. The Gentlewoman Magazine
Because your newly single (and eternally fabulous) self deserves to indulge in an eloquent periodical, and Penny Martin’s title is up there with the finest. It’s also a helluva lot cheaper than actually purchasing a whole new wardrobe from Cos, but boasts the respective qualities you’re going to want to align yourself with. Likewise the women inside: read and absorb.
5. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Doing the rounds since 1868, Alcott’s novel is for many perhaps the first literary introduction to heartbreak, so inevitably deserves another read when shit hits the fan. If all you really need is a good cry, there’s space here for that; some non-romantic nostalgia? Sorted. Elsewhere references to both female empowerment and the idea that there’s someone out there for everyone is a nice reminder that he or she just wasn’t right for you (like, actually).
6. Love Sick – Jessie Cave
A Debrief favourite, actress, comedian, writer and artist Jessie Cave has your back with this doodle a day-cum-bona fide hardback title. All the neurotic feels a modern woman suffers in a week, explored with a marker pen and summed up with absurdly relatable observations. If Etsy did memes they’d not be far off.
7. Henry and June – Anaïs Nin
Alice Walker has described it as 'A very erotic book and profoundly liberating' while Newsweek called it 'A key moment in modern culture, when the theme of sexuality broke free from literature.' Taken from her diaries, penned between 1931-32, Henry and June tours Nin’s extramarital romance with the writer Henry Miller and his wife June. Not strictly break up specific, but apt for any time you care to pursue the movements of other’s relationships, both sexual and psychological.
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You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating