As the title may suggest, I am currently going through a break up. Currently I’m in a very angry (at the world, at myself, but mostly at him) state of mind. So I thought I’d write up a list of novels to read if you’re just angry at the world or men (girl, aren’t we all?) and want to read something that’ll fire up your spirit and make you feel powerful. And then, if you’re exhausted from being angry, I’ve put together some books to help you release your own sadness.
p.s. this turned into a very heteronormative post aimed mostly at girls getting over break ups with (shitty) boys, but I’ve included diverse fic aimed at anyone xPut away your pitchforks, and read these:
The Power – Naomi Alderman
Girl, if you’re angry at the power structures in place in the world, you need this book in your life. I devoured it because it’s both a fast-paced, exciting read, and also a total feminist manifesto. It’ll feed directly into all your post-breakup rage-at-the-world feels.
Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
This one needs no introduction after its stellar moment back in the spotlight due to the recent TV series. The catchphrase, Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum, (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”), is exactly the phrase you need to keep in your head when you’re going through a shit break up. P.s. this lovely small business sells the best tshirts and pins with the phrase if you wanna flaunt your don’t-fuck-with-me vibe.
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
The original “fuck men” novel, telling the previously unheard story of Bertha (of Jane Eyre), shows how women’s lives and stories are deliberately hidden and forgotten. Read this after Jane Eyre, and then rethink everything you’ve ever read. It’ll inspire you to shout your own story loud and clear, and lift up other women.
If you need some Bridget Jones style break up books:
Okay, so you’re past the anger stage (let me know how that goes – I’m not there yet), and you need somewhere to drive your grief (other than a tub of ice cream). Put away the Nicholas Sparks movies (please), and dissolve into tears with these tearjerkers.
A Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
This is the most masterful and poetic writing about grief I’ve witnessed. If you’re going through a shit time, Didion’s memoir will absolutely destroy you, but I think it’s important to allow your grief to come, so you can move through it. And seriously, probably no shit break up you’re going through compares to the losses (within a single year) that Didion survived. She’s still killing it, and you can too.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
If you need something to ground you, get you out of your own grief, and give you a perspective of life and the world, you absolutely need to read this devastating memoir of Kalanithi’s final months of life. The guy can write, and his perspective on life and death is beautifully optimistic. Keep this quote (that Kalanithi used as his mantra) in mind: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
This is surprisingly a feminist novel written almost entirely about men. I know that’s contradictory, but the novel deliberately writes about tragedy, abuse, pain and grief, from a purely men’s perspective, to show how far men have to go in coming to terms with their own emotions. It’s an extremely upsetting novel that deals with a huge list of issues, and it’ll allow you to wallow in someone else’s grief and tragedy for a little (or a long) while.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
I’m putting this here because it’s my original tearjerker, that I always turn to if I need a sob story. After a break up it’s so important to allow yourself to feel things, and this book will bring out all the feels, seriously. It’s also magically written, imaginative, hopeful, and brilliant.
These books are books I’ve already read, so if you have any suggestions for me of books that have helped you in a hard situation, please let me know!
Looking for more books to read? You know I have a novel, right?