“It Ended Badly” Puts Your Worst Breakup In Perspective
Jennifer Wright’s new book It Ended Badly shares some of the most dysfunctional breakups in history. We’re talking beheadings, prison, life-size dolls, and so much literary snark about thinly-veiled “fictional” characters. I was already hooked on the subject matter, but the narrative’s conversational tone really adds to the stories of historical heartbreak.
If you don’t love Henry VIII through reams of historical fiction, here’s a refresher on his famous six marriages. When the Pope refused to grant Henry’s request to divorce his first wife, Henry started his own religion (with himself as the head, obvs) and ignited the infamous chain of wives that went in the order of: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Not even the king who married three Catherines, two Annes, and a Jane is the worst offender in this book. Makes a little late-night scrolling of your ex’s Facebook seem downright mature and healthy!
These awful breakups don’t need embellishment. I was pretty familiar with the stories of Nero and Henry VIII going in, and I knew that Byron wasn’t exactly a good and faithful boyfriend, but many of these stories of ex-couples were new to me. Even the ones where I barely cared about the characters (Elizabeth Taylor isn’t great at marriage, pass it on) were lively, darkly funny, and dramatic, reminding readers that love makes complete idiots of us all.