I will survive
May 4, 2016 2:13 PM   Subscribe

He broke up with me. I'm not bitter, but I am in pain. I'm looking for fiction or non-fiction books about starting again from nothing. I have When Things Fall Apart and I've ordered a used copy of Eat, Pray, Love. What else can I read that will help me get to the other side of this?
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I liked Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. It's a memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after the death of her mother and her divorce.
posted by domo at 2:16 PM on May 4, 2016 [14 favorites]

It's about death, not a breakup, but Here if You Need Me (Kate Braestrup) is a beautiful memoir of loss and rebuilding. She'll make you cry and laugh, on the same page.
posted by joycehealy at 2:41 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

well...starting again from nothing...Man's Search for Meaning.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:06 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Julie Klausner's I Don't Care About Your Band really helped me gain perspective on what I was/wasn't willing to put up with by men. It's a quick read and pretty light.
posted by witchen at 3:07 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Reality Slap
posted by heavenknows at 3:12 PM on May 4, 2016

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Any very complex textbook, or even start studying a course. Just trying to get your head around it will take your mind off the breakup and by the end of it, you'll be on your way to being qualified in something. Make lemonade from lemons and all of that.
posted by Jubey at 3:17 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

seconding Man's Search for Meaning
Shirley Valentine was a play before it was a movie
The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou
If you like When Things Fall Apart, then perhaps Chodron's The Places that Scare You
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:22 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nayyirah Waheed's poetry will be helpful. The poetry books are salt and nejma.
posted by discopolo at 3:35 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was also going to say Cheryl Strayed's Wild, I was resistant to reading it but then it helped me in many ways afterwards (much crying in bookstore aisles reading it prior to being gifted a copy). Also, Dear Sugar by the same.

And another always favorite- "Of Human Bondage" by Somerset Maugham...just to know that things don't always turn out as planned and maybe that's ok.

Also Sedaris's "Naked" made me laugh during a nine hour airport layover...so, it will cheer you up even involuntarily if nothing else!
posted by bquarters at 3:47 PM on May 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Any of Anne Lamott's nonfiction. I recommend Travelling Mercies particularly, as I've used it in two situations like the one you describe.

She does write from sort of a Christian/religious worldview, but also about as liberal as they come.
posted by guster4lovers at 3:52 PM on May 4, 2016

Eat Pray Love is my go-to, so I think you'll really like it. Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert is also good - possibly even better.
posted by umwhat at 4:53 PM on May 4, 2016

It's Called a Breakup Because it's Broken
Cheesy but it helped.
posted by katieanne at 5:39 PM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham is about the quest for meaning in life.

Dorothy Parker's poetry is fun. Here's one I have memorized, but don't remember the title of:

In youth, it was a way I had
to do my best to please
and change with every passing lad
to suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
and do the things I do,
and if you do not like me so,
to hell, my love, with you.
posted by FencingGal at 5:42 PM on May 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

I liked This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz.
posted by kylej at 7:23 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Getting Over Homer - if Blue (the narrator) can get over Homer, you can get over anybody/anytime.

And Bleeding Hearts: Love Poems for the Nervous and Highly Strung because poetry is always a welcome addition to the day. A brief, but representative sample:

You don't send me flowers anymore


–Andre Segui
posted by she's not there at 7:26 PM on May 4, 2016

I prefer science fiction, so take that with a grain of salt. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie occurs in a gender-(neutral?)(oblivious?) universe wherein the main character has to rebuild their entire personality/life outlook from scratch due to a betrayal. I don't want to give any spoilers, but may make you feel a lot better about losing a single individual in your life.
posted by shownomercy at 7:36 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wool (science fiction) has a lot of getting-over-a-relationship
posted by childofTethys at 8:21 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

elie wiesel: night
posted by watrlily at 9:13 PM on May 4, 2016

Gone Girl, to remind you that relationships aren't always as rosy as they look.
posted by superfish at 12:58 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

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