Unhappy Endings: It Ended Badly

Posted November 2, 2015 by Elizabeth in book reviews/ 3 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review. Affiliate links within the post provide a small commission to support blog expenses and giveaways. This is in accordance with US FCC regulations.

Unhappy Endings: It Ended BadlyIt Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright
Genres: History, Non-Fiction, Relationships
Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: NetGalley
November 3rd 2015 | Pages: 256
Purchase on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

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, for whom he went to jail, abandoned him when faced with being cut off financially from his wealthy family. Volatile Caroline Lamb sent Lord Byron one hell of a torch letter and enclosed a bloody lock of her own pubic hair. 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.

Anna Ivanova of Russia
Anna Ivanova of Russia

What a delightfully interesting book Jennifer Wright has given us ! These thirteen historical  conversationally written stories had me laughing in public and mentally cringing with the audacious behavior of both men and women as relationships came to an end. This is a book about relationships ending in many different ways, death, annulment, stabbing, divorce, one person being jailed, and how one or both parties handled the situation badly. Not just badly, but usually audaciously, crazily wrong. Of course many of these people were audaciously crazy before the end of their relationship, as people of creativity or power can sometimes be. From Nero in the year 54 CE to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1960s, Jennifer Wright takes us into an emotional bouncy-house (literally, in the case of Nero) of bad love matches.

Lord Byron
Lord Byron

It Ended Badly makes history comfortable and accessible to those who might find it intimidating, and brought me, a history lover, a wealth of details about incidents I already knew as well as introduced me to several more obscure historic un-couplings of which I was unaware. More than just a story collection, Ms. Wright discusses the context of the events, childhoods of participants, and sociological reasons and implications for and of their behavior. I could easily see this as a textbook for a sociology or psychology class. I can’t think of anyone, man, woman, adult, young person, who wouldn’t enjoy this book, with the exception of people who are unaware of the grisly nature of history and might be shocked.

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3 responses to “Unhappy Endings: It Ended Badly

  1. Oooh, this is my kind of “geeky” read. I love trivial historical stuff like this! Totally hunting my library for a copy! Thanks for the feature 🙂

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