10 Books to Get You Through a Bad Breakup

Are you dealing with a bad breakup? How about getting your mind off it with some books? We know, we know, you just want to turn off your brain for a while, eat some ice cream, and watch movies in bed. But if you engage your mind with the right book, you may find that some of your favorite writers are saying just the things that you need to hear right now. Start with one of these 10 essential breakup books, and see if you don’t feel better! With novels, memoirs, self-help books, and even poetry collections on our list, we have something for every broken heart.

The Breakup Bible by Rachel Sussman

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do next when your heart is broken. Get a little help from this thoughtful book, which guides you through the process of grieving for your relationship and growing stronger. The Breakup Bible is the definitive breakup self-help book.


Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

There’s nothing wrong with a little sulking. Bridget Jones’s Diary became a classic because it looked unflinchingly at what it’s really like to be single. Cheer for Bridget, and cheer for yourself.


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

We bet you’ve heard of this one! Eat, Pray, Love is the monster hit memoir that Gilbert wrote about her travels following a failed relationship. You may not be able to take an international journey right now, but you can tag along with Gilbert and share in her lessons.


High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Hornby’s protagonist looks back at his old relationships, and he doesn’t always like what he sees. High Fidelity is funny, honest, and brilliant. If you’re going to sulk, sulk cleverly.


Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

This book of poems was written following the dissolution of Olds’ marriage, which had lasted more than two decades. It features themes of loss but also those of self-affirmation. Sometimes, the language of poetry is the language that works best.


The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt 

Hustvedt’s protagonist, Mia, has her world upended when her husband asks for a “pause” in their marriage – so that he can take up with a younger colleague. Mia responds by heading back to her small Minnesota hometown. There, she lives among the women of her family and rediscovers herself.


Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Fitzgerald based this novel on the end of his own marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald, and it doesn’t pull any punches. The protagonists are sucked into a jazz-age downward spiral, fueled by alcohol and fast living. It’s a dark book, but it’s a good reminder that you’re not the only one who has dealt with a bad breakup.


This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz 

Diaz’s story is one of redemption. It focuses on a protagonist who seems incapable of treating his lovers well. Diaz humanizes his leading man, though, and ultimately shows us that everyone can grow from lost love.


What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman

If you think your relationship was lousy, wait until you read these stories. This collection of stories about bad boyfriends and worse breakups includes some real doozies. You can relate (though hopefully not too well).


Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

Strayed’s memoir of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail is a modern classic. It begins with the loss of Strayed’s mother and a separation from her husband. What follows is an affirming journey of self-discovery.

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