Saturday, 28 November 2015

It Ended Badly / Jennifer Wright

4 out of 5 stars
Spanning eras and cultures from ancient Rome to medieval England to 1950s Hollywood, Jennifer Wright's It Ended Badly guides 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.

“No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”—Bertrand Russell
How true! What fun would that be? And this book is fun and snarky. In a very 21st century way, the author discusses some of the most prominent romantic break-ups in history. It can be difficult to judge the past by their own standards, so let’s not, just for the duration of this little book. Get all judgey with 21st century values and giggle while you do it.

There are poets behaving badly (Lord Byron), Romans behaving viciously (Nero), and rather sad tales, like Oscar Wilde (eventually abandoned by the guy that he went to jail for). Then there are the ladies who won the public relations battle—Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds, whose friendship outlasted both of their marriages to Eddie Fischer.

Light & frothy, just the thing to get you interested in reading serious biographies of some of these people, and a wonderful change from heavier fare. 

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