The Little Book of Heartbreak by Meghan Laslocky

Happy anti-Valentines! Loving, lovelorn, heartache and heartbreak. Yes, bring it on!

Synopsis of The Little Book of Heartbreak by Meghan Laslocky:
The perfect anti-valentine: a whirlwind tour through love’s most crushing moments. What’s the best way to mend a broken heart? Forget ice cream, wine, and sappy movies. Journalist Meghan Laslocky advises: Read through the pain. From forbidden love in 12th century Paris to the art of crafting the perfect “I’m over you” mix CD, The Little Book of Heartbreak is a quirky exploration of all things lovelorn, including:
  • How serial cheater Ernest Hemingway stole his wife’s job just as their marriage was collapsing
  • Kinky spells cast by lovesick men in ancient Greece
  • Painter Oscar Kokoschka’s attempt to get over an ex by creating (and having liaisons with!) her life-size replica
  • Brooding crooner Morrissey’s personal creed about how romantic love is useless
  • The connection between World War II and what you talk about with your therapist
  • Insights into the tricky chemistry of monogamy, courtesy of tiny rodents
  • And other lessons learned from ill-fated romances, lovers’ quarrels, and hell-hath-no-fury spats throughout the ages

Featuring anecdotes from history, literature, culture, art and music, The Little Book of Heartbreak shares the entertaining, empowering and occasionally absurd things that happen when love is on its last legs.

My two cents 

The book in one sentence: A compendium of all things lovelorn and heartbreaky that's bound to entertain, inspire, and even jumpstart you out of heartache!

This is an amazing little book that alternately put in stitches, made me scratch my head a few times, got me scribbling down some potential new reads and films to watch, but mainly made me go ahhhhh, really? 

Written in the wake of her own heartbreak, Laslocky did some therapeutic research and writing and ended up with this gem of a book. It not only made her feel better, it will make countless heartbroken folks out there feel better too. Because what's better than poking fun at the very thing that you hate (well, at the time)?

For such a thin book, it sure packs a punch. The content is varied and diverse and everything is random, trivial, even mundane ... but just plain fascinating. I mean, who would think to put in the same book lurid details of historical romances then jump over to the modern-day equivalent of the diary, the mix tape? The amount of research that went into this one not only impressed me, it actually held my interest like a merry little treasure/scavenger hunt!

Another thing I love about the presentation is that it's broken up with little random factoids about the main text, or a little sidebar of a related book, film or song (hence my incessant scribbling). This is truly a reader's / film buff's / audiophile's delight. You're bound to find something to follow through when you're done with this book!


My only little quibble is at the end where Laslocky actually encourages drug use for the lovelorn who desire to feel better. I think this is beyond regretful and irresponsible -- pop a pill and feel better? Sadly, she just junked the entire premise of feeling better by wallowing in the cesspool of love and love lost -- her entire book -- with that one page at the end!


A fascinating compendium of all things lovelorn and heartbreaky. Highly recommended for trivia lovers. The ideal read for for those who suffer a broken heart and would love to heal themselves by overdosing on the best and worst all things love.

First lines

The older I get, the more irked I become that time travel is not an option. Noting would make me happier than stocking up on olives in the Roman Forum, introducing Queen Elizabeth I to vodka gimlets, flirting with a caveman, catching a Dickens reading in St. James's Hall, or hand feeding a brachiosaur. - p. 3

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall