Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: The Little Book of Heartbreak by Meghan Laslocky

Received from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review
This book has a pretty cute premise and is just my type of refresher book - one that can be read all at once or can be easily broken down into chapters.  It's a cultural history of breakups, particularly those that are significant historically, socially, culturally, or for their just plain weirdness.  From Abelard and Heloise through current celebrity gossip, Laslocky covers the many varieties of heartbreak in short, funny vignettes.

I wanted to like the writing more than I actually did.  I think Laslocky did a good job of keeping the tone (which, obviously, could have become depressing easily) light and upbeat, but it was presented in a less scholarly format than I like for non-fiction.  By scholarly, I don't mean dry and dull, I mean with references.  I would have liked to have seen some form of citation or acknowledgment of sources or where to look for further reading, since the book dealt largely with historical relationships.

Entertainment Value 
I felt like the subtitle may have been a bit off. "Love Gone Wrong Through the Ages" made me think that this would be largely historical accounts of breakups.  However, I would say that the emphasis is more on the culture of breakups than it is on the history.  There are sections on breakups in popular music, how to recover from heartbreak, etc that I think lend themselves more to an exploration of culture than an exploration of history.

I did appreciate the author's sense of humor, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, even if it wasn't what I was expecting.  It reminded me a lot of Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love.  I recommend it for those who enjoy cultural histories or for those who are just looking for some short anecdotes filled with fun trivia.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for this review.

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