Saturday, May 12, 2012

Popular Demand: 10 Novels to Read When You're Heartbroken

Okay. I hear you. For a novelist who writes about heartbreak, this blog has precious few posts about novels dealing with significant others who are no longer that into you, or into you at all for that matter. (Those hurt the worst!)   

I get it because when you're heartbroken, you need books about people getting angry, getting even, realizing new things, traveling to faraway places, learning something, laughing despite everything, being funny, making over a room or a life, starting over, and being able to imagine a time when they might love again.
So, here's a band-aid to tide you over. It is not my ultimate list, or even a complete list (Not even close!)  of all the contemporary fiction I'd recommend for those days when nothing makes sense and all you can think about is the fact that what was, is no longer, but it's enough to get you through the first few months.

All are primarily about heartbreak, well-written, deep enough to uplift you, and funny enough to keep your mind off things. Here goes:

1. The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
My two cents: Honest, fast-paced, and absolutely hilarious. (Dunn used to write for "Spin City.")

2. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
My two cents: This book is the smart friend who tells you what you need to hear... with love and compassion. 

3. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
My two cents: Lyrical and original. Hoffman twirls language around her fingers so that every emotion feels like your own. The scene where two people who've been hit by lighting get into a tub full of ice in order to make love is priceless.

4. The Accidental Tourist by Ann Tyler
My two cents: Satisfying, well-told story that builds a quirky world you'll want to inhabit. One of Tyler's best. 

5. Isabel's Bed
My two cents: So much goes on in such a well-written way, that you'll get lost in this nontraditional beach story. And isn't that the best thing a book can do for you right now?

6. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
My two cents: Angry, funny, sad... with a touch of New York. Plus, it has recipes. 

7. High Maintenance by Jennifer Belle
My two cents: Raw, hard-edged, gripping, sexy and very, very smart. An exciting ride in the shape of a book. (Her new book is called The Seven-Year Bitch. Need I say more?)

8. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
My two cents: Fantasy fiction at its best. Spells revenge with a capital R.

9. Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman
My two cents: This is the book that motivated me to finish "The Heartbreak Pill," after it had been in my drawer for almost two years. The plot is fresh, the telling is to the point, and it mixes television, science, and love in a way that feels true. You'll be saying "Moo," I mean, "Next," before you know it. 

10. The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer
My two cents: The Nobel Prize winner creates heartbreak that goes beyond the usual in this tale of a new world, a different culture, and a young woman who is born again, this time for love. 

My two cents: Shaped as a collection of stories with intertwining characters, this novel is about the fear and loneliness of heartbreak amongst the inhabitants of a Pre-war building in Manhattan. Delicious, even if it was written by a man. :)

My two cents: Few novels about heartbreak are so richly plotted, remembering to keep the action moving. This one adds the intriguing premise of what happens when we lie to get love. 

Your turn now. What books have you read when heartbroken?
(***An equivalent list of Spanish-language novels coming soon.)

 Have a great weekend!


  1. Thanks for all those great suggestions!

    My own suggestion: The Mermaid Chair. It did wonders to inspire me through the terrors of mending a broken heart.

  2. Wow! I'm starting to read it, Raquel. It's a thing of beauty. Thanks for recommending. (Tenemos conversacion pendiente. :) )

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