It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

source: ARC/free review copy via AmazonVine
title: It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History
author: Jennifer Wright
published: November 3, 2015
pages: 240
genre: humor/non-fiction/history
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 for humor, history and gossip

A history of heartbreak-replete with beheadings, uprisings, creepy sex dolls, and celebrity gossip-and its disastrously bad consequences throughout time

Spanning eras and cultures from ancient Rome to medieval England to 1950’s 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.

my thoughts:
Jennifer Wright had me laughing out loud with It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. The history buff in me wanted to read this one as soon as I saw the title.
Some of the couples that Wright gives us the breakup dish on I had heard of, like Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and Oscar Wilde with Lord Alfred Douglas. Other couples such as Nero and Poppaea, were among the ones I did not know of.
Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron’s breakup story was my favorite. I was stunned, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of these people’s behavior and I had to Google them to see if it was true.

“Byron and Lady Jane-and this fact is often glossed over in history books-were monster- people.”
p.120 It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

The one couple whose breakup story bored me were Nero and Poppaea. I had no idea who they were and soon became uninterested in reading about their lives, families and relationships. I think mainly because this time period is not one that really interests me.
Among my favorites were Oscar Wilde, Lord_Byron and Edith Wharton’s stories. Edith Wharton, author of classics such as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, had an affair with Morton Fullerton, who was apparently promiscuous and bisexual and broke her heart.
The author includes details about each couple mentioned as well as pictures throughout.
She infuses humor and sarcasm when highlighting these people’s love lives.
IMG_20150823_092658 (400x400)

The stories start off in Ancient Rome and finish off in the 1950’s with the Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Liz Taylor love triangle.

Artist Oskar Kokoschka’s breakup was one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. He commissioned a doll maker to create a life like doll of his ex, Alma Mahler, which he would take with him out on the town and to dinner parties with friends.

Overall, a funny, at times shocking book and a nice light-hearted change from my past few reads.

“If your breakup makes you behave like a tormented, crazed shell of your former self, you are not alone. Some of the most notable, most talented people in the world have gone absolutely nuts in the face of romantic disappointment.”
p 3. It Ended Badly

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My free review copy of It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright arrived via AmazonVine.
Nothing in this post is available for download.

11 thoughts on “It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

  1. This sounds so entertaining and enlightening.

    This is history approached from an unconventional angle. I tend to like such attempt books.

    I think that it is really good that the author applied both wit and empathy to this subject. I think that it lends it self to both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Naida,

    This is one of those books, which although I may not read from cover to cover, would make a great coffee table book, providing some excellent material for those after dinner discussions!

    We all like to laugh a little at other peoples misfortunes, even if not unkindly and it does sound as though some of the candidates for this little collection, left themselves wide open to ridicule!

    Luckily, I have never been subjected to a romantic breakup, however I can see that your memorable lines from page 3, would come straight into play if that were to ever happen.

    “For anyone who’s ever loved and lost and maybe sent one too many ill-considered late-night emails to their ex,” …. I couldn’t help thinking about the irony of that statement, in light of the recent events concerning the ‘Ashley Madison’ hacking 🙂

    Great post, made me chuckle and cringe, at one and the same time.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvonne, yes, this is great coffee table book. And in this day and age, it doesn’t surprise me that these kinds of sites get hacked and people get outed that way. ha!
      I did “chuckle and cringe” while reading this one 🙂


  3. I can see how this would be quite entertaining to read. 🙂 I do love history and will keep this in mind if I am ever in the mood for a light, funny historical nonfiction book. I admit that break-ups, including today’s celebrities doesn’t really interest me much though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Literary, sometimes the break ups of today will catch my eye, depending on the celebs.
      These historical breakups though, they made me laugh but also feel bad for those involved.


  4. Gosh, what an interesting sounding book. And from the glimpses you’ve given us of it I can see why it would have you laughing aloud 😀 This is definitely the type of history books that I like, the ones that take all the black and white pictures of stuffy looking famous people and infuses their lives with the colour they surely must have been brimming with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lady Disdain, it was an interesting one. The photos of the “stuffy looking famous people” with captions made me laugh. The author did well here.


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