Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: It Ended Badly by Jennifer Wright

It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History
Spanning eras and cultures from ancient Rome to medieval England to 1950s Hollywood, Jennifer Wright's It Ended Badlyguides you through the worst of the worst in historically bad breakups. In the throes of heartbreak, Emperor Nero had just about everyone he ever loved-from his old tutor to most of his friends-put to death. Oscar Wilde's lover, whom he went to jail for, abandoned him when faced with being cut off financially from his wealthy family and wrote several self-serving books denying the entire affair. And poor volatile Caroline Lamb sent Lord Byron one hell of a torch letter and enclosed a bloody lock of her own pubic hair. Your obsessive social media stalking of your ex isn't looking so bad now, is it? 
With a wry wit and considerable empathy, Wright digs deep into the archives to bring these thirteen terrible breakups to life. She educates, entertains, and really puts your own bad breakup conduct into perspective. It Ended Badly is for anyone who's ever loved and lost and maybe sent one too many ill-considered late-night emails to their ex, reminding us that no matter how badly we've behaved, no one is as bad as Henry VIII.
This was an absolute blast to read.  I devoured it in two sittings because the style is just so engaging.  I love, love, love the way the author combines humor with history.  She's clearly done her research on each subject, and she combines it well with wit and drama.  I love these kind of histories that focus on the small stories in the lives of great people (Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love is another I enjoyed).

Entertainment Value
As above, I think the author does a great job of making history a blast to read.  I'm guilty of avoiding books of history at times out of fear of being bored, but this kind of entertaining take on things does a lot to draw me in.  I couldn't stop reading (or laughing) and I left the book wanting to do further research into several of the people profiled.

I highly recommend this to others like me who are interested in history, but afraid of reading something dry.  This is the furthest thing from dry, and may inspire you, like me to dig deeper into some of the lives we get a glimpse of here.  I plan on following the author and reading whatever she publishes next, and there's not really a greater compliment than that, now is there?

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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