Dealing with a broken heart is never easy, but it’s especially difficult around Valentine’s Day. If the sight of happy couples, red roses, and heart shaped chocolates is getting you down this year, here are some books that may help to raise your spirits and give you hope for future love.
From 2010-2012, acclaimed writer and memoirist Cheryl Strayed imparted wise and compassionate advice to an online audience via the help column “Dear Sugar.” In Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, Strayed has collected some of her most thought-provoking and intimate questions, covering a wide variety of topics. This book has been described as a “balm” for everything that ails us, and that’s exactly what Strayed set out to do – heal our wounds and remind us of our own strength. Her writing is so intimate and endearing, but she certainly doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is, and the essays have a very candid tone. They’re also interspersed with a lot of experiences from her own life, which are incredibly moving. So whether you’re trying to mend a broken heart, grieve the loss of a family member, overcome unemployment, or deal with the reality of an illness, this book has something for you.
Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith, is a wonderfully unique book that contains hundreds of six word poems on the topic of love and loss, written by what they call “writers famous and obscure.” Some of them are funny, some of them are terribly sad, others are incredibly weird, and a few will stop you in your tracks to ponder the real story behind the words. If you’re feeling lonely, this book will do one of two things: help you cry it out (which is sometimes exactly what we need), or give you hope that real love does exist out there, somewhere.
If you’re looking for something to make you laugh and perhaps make you glad that you’re single this season, What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories, edited by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman is the perfect thing. This collection of true essays, told in the first person, are hilarious, relatable, sometimes cringeworthy, and really will leave you asking “what were they thinking?”
The quintessential “I’ve been through a break up and I need to mope about it” book has to be Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Written in the style of a diary, it chronicles a year in the life of 30 year old Bridget Jones, a woman obsessed with losing weight, securing a man, and finding “inner poise.” Regrettably for her, but hilariously for us, she is not adept at doing any of these things. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, so you know how relatably neurotic and self-obsessed the title character is, but I assure you that the book is even better. This book allows you to commiserate with Bridget on her dating woes, it lets you sulk about the fact that you do not have two handsome British men vying for your attention, and it will give you a great laugh that will, in the end, leave you feeling much better.
Finally, Katie Heaney’s memoir Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date, is the perfect book to remind you that you are fine on your own, after all. This tongue in cheek story reads almost like a blog, and it’s easy to imagine that Heaney is your close friend, opening up to you over a glass of wine. She reminisces about all of the boys she’s had crushes on, and chronicles the methods she has used to secure a boyfriend: flirting, drinking, even online dating. While these attempts have all proven futile and Heaney is now 26 and perpetually single, she says that on a day-to-day basis it doesn’t really bother her. One constant in her life is her group of girlfriends, who she turns to for advice, laughter, and a shoulder to cry on when she needs one. This book does a great job of showing the broken or lonely hearted that it’s not all bad! You have yourself, and you have your friends, and really isn’t that all you need anyway?