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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 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, 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 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, 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.


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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 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, 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 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, 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.

30 review for It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wright

    Full disclosure: I am biased because the author and myself are literally the same person.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    The author made this such a fun and interesting way to learn a bit of history. Her sarcastic comments and amusing anecdotes made this a pure joy to read. She reminds me of my sophomore history teacher whose way of teaching made me fall forever in love with all things historical. Of course many of these breakups were beyond nasty, none more so than the less than delightful, Henry the Eighth. Still there were some strange characters from many areas in Europe that were weirder than weird. Also learn The author made this such a fun and interesting way to learn a bit of history. Her sarcastic comments and amusing anecdotes made this a pure joy to read. She reminds me of my sophomore history teacher whose way of teaching made me fall forever in love with all things historical. Of course many of these breakups were beyond nasty, none more so than the less than delightful, Henry the Eighth. Still there were some strange characters from many areas in Europe that were weirder than weird. Also learned many interesting tidbits, such as the phrase, Keeping up with the Jones, which referenced Edith Wharton's father who was beyond wealthy as was Edith herself. Some may find some of the comments over the top but if you just go with the flow I think you will find much amusing but informative as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    * A Reader Obsessed *

    3.5 Stars Love hurts and quite frankly, Wright hammers that message quite harshly here with snarky, humorous, and sobering commentary. I’m a lover of happy endings, and you’re definitely not going to get that here. However, if you’re a history buff, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the detailed accounts of infamous people and their oft bizarre, shockingly violent, sometimes horrifying, and mostly tragic conclusions. Thankfully, this is not the norm as this does not apply obviously to all tho 3.5 Stars Love hurts and quite frankly, Wright hammers that message quite harshly here with snarky, humorous, and sobering commentary. I’m a lover of happy endings, and you’re definitely not going to get that here. However, if you’re a history buff, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the detailed accounts of infamous people and their oft bizarre, shockingly violent, sometimes horrifying, and mostly tragic conclusions. Thankfully, this is not the norm as this does not apply obviously to all those who have found love, but take note and go tell/show/proclaim to your special someone just how much you care!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Examining other people's relationships and the various dramas that result in their demise is always fascinating to read about. Combine that content with Wright's ability to present facts in a fun and tongue of cheek writing style, and you're onto a winner. This was entertaining, insightful and funny. I think my favourite chapter was about Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. And Richard Burton. I'm definitely in the camp that they were over dramatic, passionate soul mates who brou Examining other people's relationships and the various dramas that result in their demise is always fascinating to read about. Combine that content with Wright's ability to present facts in a fun and tongue of cheek writing style, and you're onto a winner. This was entertaining, insightful and funny. I think my favourite chapter was about Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. And Richard Burton. I'm definitely in the camp that they were over dramatic, passionate soul mates who brought out the worst in each other but also couldn't resist each other. They're absolutely absorbing to read about. Othet highlights while reading: Nero really was insane. Also, never knew just how obsessed Romans were with poison. Eleanor of Aquitaine. What a legend. What a woman. I love the drama of the Borgias. Lucretia was a woman ahead of her time. To convince a jury to annual a marriage when you're heavily pregnant.... Genius. Some interesting opinions on the Tudor queens (if not entirely accurate...) with a bit of a feminist spin. Timothy Dexter. The luckiest, and also the most incredibly insane, man in all of the Americas. He sold mittens. In the West Indies. For a profit. And held a mock wake that he spied on and went on to cane his wife for because she didn't cry over this death. Wow. Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron. I don't think that it's socially acceptable at any point to send your ex public hair to try and win him back. Wow. Oskar Kokoschkar. Commissioned a lifelike doll of his ex after a breakup. Enough said. Norman Mailer. Talented writer. Awful person, terrible husband. Don't let him near your knives at parties. Fun, factual and endlessly entertaining. I love the way Wright collates these non fiction books and makes them so accessible. She makes me want to explore history in greater depths, which is always a positive.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    “No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”—Bertrand Russell How true! What fun would that be? And this book is fun and snarky. In a very 21st century way, the author discusses some of the most prominent romantic break-ups in history. It can be difficult to judge the past by their own standards, so let’s not, just for the duration of this little book. Get all judgey with 21st century values and giggle while you do it. There are poets behaving badly (Lord Byron), Romans behaving viciously “No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”—Bertrand Russell How true! What fun would that be? And this book is fun and snarky. In a very 21st century way, the author discusses some of the most prominent romantic break-ups in history. It can be difficult to judge the past by their own standards, so let’s not, just for the duration of this little book. Get all judgey with 21st century values and giggle while you do it. There are poets behaving badly (Lord Byron), Romans behaving viciously (Nero), and rather sad tales, like Oscar Wilde (eventually abandoned by the guy that he went to jail for). Then there are the ladies who won the public relations battle—Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds, whose friendship outlasted both of their marriages to Eddie Fischer. Light & frothy, just the thing to get you interested in reading serious biographies of some of these people, and a wonderful change from heavier fare.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    2 1/2 stars I read this between other books for the past 2 months and was actually relieved when I was finally done. I have promised myself that this year I will try to be more honest with my ratings but I went back and forth between a 2 and 3 star the whole time I was reading. Humour is sometimes a tricky thing to get right for everyone. What is funny for one person just sounds facetious to another. I knew from the start this was going to be a book that does not take a very academically rigorous 2 1/2 stars I read this between other books for the past 2 months and was actually relieved when I was finally done. I have promised myself that this year I will try to be more honest with my ratings but I went back and forth between a 2 and 3 star the whole time I was reading. Humour is sometimes a tricky thing to get right for everyone. What is funny for one person just sounds facetious to another. I knew from the start this was going to be a book that does not take a very academically rigorous look at certain historical figures but more a light hearted poking of fun at them. But unfortunately the majority of the author’s running commentary throughout felt very juvenile and contrived and at the end started irritating me. The book covers 13 couples in history and their messy breakups. The author often cites comparisons to current pop culture to show similarities or how they fit into the social hierarchy and because of that it made me feel as if this book would be well suited to girls between the ages of 17 and 22 going through their first bad breakup. But it was not all bad. I like list-type books as it gives one exposure to historical figures you may not have thought to read about. For example, King Nero (the first story), he was even worse than Henry 8 in my opinion and I will definitely look out for more books about him. Other historical figures include Liz Taylor and her host of husbands, the Borgias, Norman Mailer (Who?), Edith Wharton and Morton Fullerton (WHO?) , Caroline Lamb & Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Anna Ivanovna (who I want to read more about ) and a host of others. I am in the minority with my feelings about this book so my advice is to get a sample chapter of the book and make your own call.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    The title "It Ended Badly" could have described this book..... except it also started badly as well. It was much too cutesy for me. The title "It Ended Badly" could have described this book..... except it also started badly as well. It was much too cutesy for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    ☼Book her, Danno☼

    “If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody come sit next to me.” ― Alice Roosevelt Longworth Alice would have loved this book. In fact she would have insisted that Jen sit next to her at dinner and then drop by the next day so they could continue their tear down session. Because Jen --Jennifer Wright = Jen -- cuts through all the historical 'glamour' and gets right down to calling a nasty breakup what it is; a chance to perfectly awful to one another. As for me, I LOVED THIS BOOK. It “If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody come sit next to me.” ― Alice Roosevelt Longworth Alice would have loved this book. In fact she would have insisted that Jen sit next to her at dinner and then drop by the next day so they could continue their tear down session. Because Jen --Jennifer Wright = Jen -- cuts through all the historical 'glamour' and gets right down to calling a nasty breakup what it is; a chance to perfectly awful to one another. As for me, I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was funny and snarky and after the first two chapters I decided that it was going to end far too soon. So I passed a mandate for myself that I would only read one chapter per night. Thus to make it last as long as possible. Honestly, it was like snarky gossip with your best friend. Getting down in everyone's business in the worst way. I want more. I KNOW this one won't be to everyone's taste, but it's my kind of humor and I found it entertaining as well as educational. To that end let me say that Ms. Wright has done her historical homework but this is hardly an academic tome. This is about how Caroline Lamb cut off a bit of her nether region and sent it to Lord Byron and how he wisely refrained from replying in kind. Highly Recommend. ~review copy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    Is Jennifer Wright becoming a new favorite author? YUP.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    The title pretty much says it all. This was a fun book to read. Wright has a nice, light touch with the material that works wonderfully well. Her sense of humor smooths out some of the rougher edges of these tales. One hopes that any reader in the midst of a bad breakup will console themselves with the thought that, at least they're not breaking up with Norman Mailer. Or Nero. Or Lucrecia Borgia. Or ... This is one of those books that's every bit as charming and entertaining as the title and cov The title pretty much says it all. This was a fun book to read. Wright has a nice, light touch with the material that works wonderfully well. Her sense of humor smooths out some of the rougher edges of these tales. One hopes that any reader in the midst of a bad breakup will console themselves with the thought that, at least they're not breaking up with Norman Mailer. Or Nero. Or Lucrecia Borgia. Or ... This is one of those books that's every bit as charming and entertaining as the title and cover promise. Jennifer Wright's prose sparkles in all the right places. I would definitely read more of her work. Recommended!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Silea

    Snark snark snark snark snark... oh, and history and vengeful spurned lovers. ...and snark.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    You guys. This book had everything: 1. Historical facts and stories spanning hundreds of years 2. Weird facts about well-known (and not-so-much) historical figures 3. Humor (for serious, some serious laughs) 4. Unbiased commentary on what shitty people certain historical figures were (coughcoughNORMALMAILERcough) 5. Some real feels, for reals (Oscar Wilde SAD FACE) I also enjoyed that it was basically a history lesson wrapped in gossip, which was AWESOME. It Ended Badly is a quick, inte You guys. This book had everything: 1. Historical facts and stories spanning hundreds of years 2. Weird facts about well-known (and not-so-much) historical figures 3. Humor (for serious, some serious laughs) 4. Unbiased commentary on what shitty people certain historical figures were (coughcoughNORMALMAILERcough) 5. Some real feels, for reals (Oscar Wilde SAD FACE) I also enjoyed that it was basically a history lesson wrapped in gossip, which was AWESOME. It Ended Badly is a quick, interesting read, full of bizarre stories about some historical figures you may know, and some you may not. When I picked up this book based on someone’s recommendation (I’M SORRY I CAN’T REMEMBER WHO I NEED TO START KEEPING A SPREADSHEET), I had absolutely no idea what it was about, I only knew that I liked the title and I liked the cover. (I know we have that whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing but I think we can all agree that for some reason that saying doesn’t really apply to books, yeah? OK, good.) Anyway, I sort of thought this book was going to be about the author’s own personal horrible breakup stories, and saying they were the worst breakups in history was just one of those over exaggerations that people use when they’re in the throes of despair (you know, like after a breakup). Imagine my utter DELIGHT (seriously, just imagine it) when I discovered Jennifer Wright was going to instead talk some serious shit about some super shitty people from the past. I WAS SO EXCITED. I wish I’d written down some of my favorite facts from this book because there were A LOT but I didn’t think of it until just now and, as of right now, I don’t know how to time travel. Maybe Future!Me knows how, but so far, she’s not sharing that information with Present!Me because SHE'S RUDE. Anyway, here are some things that I learned from this book: 1. Nero was fucking insane, which I knew, but like even more whackadoo crazy than I thought. I don’t want to spoiler too much but he killed his wife in a horrific fashion and then made a slave who sort of looked like her BECOME her basically? A male slave. So. Yeah. 2. Lord Byron was in this, of course, but was not the one behaving badly in terms of the breakup? Or at least he looked better by comparison...sort of? Honestly, I would read an entire book about his exploits with Catherine Lamb, does that exist? 3. Timothy Dexter, who I had never heard of, was delightfully crazy in a way that sort of reminds me of Trump but Timothy Dexter doesn’t make me want to vomit out of my eyeballs so I guess it’s not the same at all. For instance, he wrote an autobiography where he didn’t use any punctuation, and when someone pointed it out, he included just a full page of punctuation in the second printing. Like, all the punctuation, so people could pick and choose what they needed and put it in themselves. SO UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS, it’s just the best. 4. Eleanor of Aquitaine was BADASS. 5. The parts about Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor’s friendship legit made me tear up. 6. ICE CASTLE. Seriously, just read this. If you at all enjoy reading anything about history or horrible breakups or just historical figures behaving badly, all written like you were gossiping with a friend, this book is perfect for you. Pick it up!

  13. 4 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    I bought this book because I'd just finished the Imperial Radch series and I needed to read something that I could not possibly compare to it (the comparison was bound to be unfavorable; the Radch books are super great). This book fit the bill perfectly. This is part of the subcategory of nonfiction that I think of as "funny history anecdotes." Sarah Vowell is obviously the queen of this particular niche, and if you like her work, you'll probably like this, too. Vowell is more funny history anec I bought this book because I'd just finished the Imperial Radch series and I needed to read something that I could not possibly compare to it (the comparison was bound to be unfavorable; the Radch books are super great). This book fit the bill perfectly. This is part of the subcategory of nonfiction that I think of as "funny history anecdotes." Sarah Vowell is obviously the queen of this particular niche, and if you like her work, you'll probably like this, too. Vowell is more funny history anecdotes plus travel, while Wright, at least here, is funny history anecdotes plus some fortunately brief self-help type stuff, but they're both funny and that's what counts. I just had a lot of fun reading this, is the thing. I laughed a lot, I learned some great stuff that I will have to try really hard not to share with the next ten people I meet, I read long passages out loud to my extremely patient spouse. I even got to hate Norman Mailer more than I already did, which I had thought was impossible. Time well spent, all the way around. The only part of the book that didn't work for me (although I should note that I skipped the chapter on Wilde and Bosie on the grounds that that entire thing was terrible and sad and I just don't want to think about it anymore ever) was the part where Wright talked to me, the reader, about breaking up -- about how it is better to have loved and lost, basically, and no matter how badly you act you're never going to make a sex doll of your ex and then behead it, so you're definitely not the worst breaker-upper ever. But, okay, I've been married for a really long time, to a woman I met when I was 16. "Boring middle-aged happily married lesbian" isn't really the target audience for the self-help parts. But I can see them being useful if you have recently broken up. And whether your breakups are long passed, recent past, or still in the future, there's solid value in reading about all the hilarious, awful, or hilarawful things you haven't done/won't do. Like marrying Eddie Fisher or pretending your still-living partner is actually a ghost. And now I need to stop writing this review before I just start copying and pasting my favorite bits. Seriously, this book is FULL of funny history anecdotes. If this is at all the kind of thing you like, read it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    2.5 stars rounded up for the level of classlessness that this entire reaches. It's so extreme that I can't help but admit that gossip level achievement attained. It is all of one piece in this tone, despite the 13 different chapters of despicable couples. Wright often makes comparisons to idol or celeb figures of today to illustrate social placements and other associative hierarchies. Or any duality in looks. I could be wrong, but in some of the cases, I think she may have gotten some of the actu 2.5 stars rounded up for the level of classlessness that this entire reaches. It's so extreme that I can't help but admit that gossip level achievement attained. It is all of one piece in this tone, despite the 13 different chapters of despicable couples. Wright often makes comparisons to idol or celeb figures of today to illustrate social placements and other associative hierarchies. Or any duality in looks. I could be wrong, but in some of the cases, I think she may have gotten some of the actual facts more assumed that researched. Although I thought her constant attempts at humor, sarcasm, farce and opinion were not in anyway disguised as anything but fun- to me they were so broad that they got old very fast. This is like reading History through a plot or dialogue of a "Dumb and Dumber" type film. The photos were good. I appreciated them. But did not often concur on Wright's opinion of who was hot or not.

  15. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    And now I MUST read everything Norman Mailer Audiobook #180

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    If you liked Jennifer Wright's Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, you'll be sure to enjoy this one too. It's light, enjoyable, but also mildly educational. I never knew that Norman Mailer was such an ass, for example, or that Oskar Kokoschka was such an oddball. Ok, I probably could have guessed that an Austrian artist would have his eccentricities, but building a life-size sex doll based on an ex is likely a bit more eccentric than most. The obvious examples o If you liked Jennifer Wright's Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, you'll be sure to enjoy this one too. It's light, enjoyable, but also mildly educational. I never knew that Norman Mailer was such an ass, for example, or that Oskar Kokoschka was such an oddball. Ok, I probably could have guessed that an Austrian artist would have his eccentricities, but building a life-size sex doll based on an ex is likely a bit more eccentric than most. The obvious examples of relationships gone awry are here — Anne Boleyn's ill-fated dalliance with King Henry VIII, Elizabeth Taylor and, well, everybody — but there are plenty of famous historical figures whose love lives were previously unknown to me that I enjoyed seeing fleshed out here. Is it gossipy and somewhat tabloid in nature? Certainly. But it's also scandalous fun — if you're into that sort of thing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    It is no secret that my reading preferences tend towards fiction. If I am going to pick up a non-fiction book, it is likely a celebrity autobiography. Straight history (my partner's preferred genre) is BO-RING. And tedious. And takes me like a decade to get through. Which is why It Ended Badly was so refreshing to me. Because the best way I can think of to describe it is History meets Bravo. Which feels distinctly in my wheelhouse. I mean, where else can you read the following paragraph: You know It is no secret that my reading preferences tend towards fiction. If I am going to pick up a non-fiction book, it is likely a celebrity autobiography. Straight history (my partner's preferred genre) is BO-RING. And tedious. And takes me like a decade to get through. Which is why It Ended Badly was so refreshing to me. Because the best way I can think of to describe it is History meets Bravo. Which feels distinctly in my wheelhouse. I mean, where else can you read the following paragraph: You know how it is Your boyfriend keeps taking his mother's advice on everything, his mom hates you, you tell him to stop being a mama's boy and imply that his mother is a... not nice lady .. and your boyfriend promptly proves his devotion by murdering his mother. Or maybe that was a thing that happened only this one time. Or a photo captioned "Eleanor of Aquitane, super-babe" Seriously, this is history I can get behind. But also, it's an interesting look at relationships over the years. Over what we tolerate, and the ways in which, even when love fails, we find it worth trying again. Some of the stories here are heartbreaking, and some are horrific. There's tons of humor in the writing, and I learned a lot while reading. But I had FUN with the learning. The best part was that even as Wright details these awful breakup stories throughout history, there's an element of hope throughout. Yes, sometimes love is a shit show. But it doesn't mean you should stop trying to love. This was a book worth reading, and that I enjoyed a lot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Rowan

    On the strength of Get Well Soon, I went looking for Jennifer Wright's other books, and have not been disappointed.  It Ended Badly is characterized by the same dry, offhand, and often gruesome humor as her other work, and kept me chuckling, even at things which really shouldn't have been funny. If you think you've had a bad break-up, read this book and be grateful that you got ghosted instead of kicked to death while pregnant (Nero and Poppea), or beheaded (Henry VIII and two of his wives), or h On the strength of Get Well Soon, I went looking for Jennifer Wright's other books, and have not been disappointed.  It Ended Badly is characterized by the same dry, offhand, and often gruesome humor as her other work, and kept me chuckling, even at things which really shouldn't have been funny. If you think you've had a bad break-up, read this book and be grateful that you got ghosted instead of kicked to death while pregnant (Nero and Poppea), or beheaded (Henry VIII and two of his wives), or had your ex's affair smeared all over the popular press (Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher, and Liz Taylor.) And also consider that Liz and Debbie, who had been best friends before Fisher, ended up best friends afterward, and Fisher ended up a broke, virtually forgotten drug addict, which is, in my opinion, probably the best possible scenario under the circumstances.  Ovaries before brovaries. The narrator, Hillary Huber, who I thought couldn't possibly be better than Gabra Zackman who narrated Get Well Soon, was fantastic, more than a match for Wright's sense of the absurd. Jennifer Wright has been fortunate in her readers. I'm telling you, if you need a lift, and your sense of humor has a dark turn, find a Jennifer Wright book, and savor it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Morris

    “It Ended Badly” is one of the perfect kinds of books. Not only do you get to learn something, but you also get to laugh. Educational Entertainment: What’s not to love about that? There are thirteen true tales of love gone wrong that will have you grateful for the relationship you have, as well as the ones you no longer have. At least they didn’t end THAT way. “It Ended Badly” is also a perfect gift for a friend or a loved one who is suffering a recent heartbreak. By the end of the book they will “It Ended Badly” is one of the perfect kinds of books. Not only do you get to learn something, but you also get to laugh. Educational Entertainment: What’s not to love about that? There are thirteen true tales of love gone wrong that will have you grateful for the relationship you have, as well as the ones you no longer have. At least they didn’t end THAT way. “It Ended Badly” is also a perfect gift for a friend or a loved one who is suffering a recent heartbreak. By the end of the book they will be laughing so hard they’ll forget what was wrong in the first place. I recommend “It Ended Badly” for pretty much any adult who loves history or a unique book of humor. Five enthusiastic stars! This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I picked this up b/c I thought it looked like it would be a humorous, informative read. Wright's humor probably works well in magazines and newspapers where she has a day job as a columnist, but I didn't feel like the history of ancient Rome and her one-liners mixed well. Maybe the rest of the book was OK but I couldn't get past the first 14 pages....The premise of the book seemed a little far-fetched -- I guess trying to make modern readers feel better about their breakups b/c historical figure I picked this up b/c I thought it looked like it would be a humorous, informative read. Wright's humor probably works well in magazines and newspapers where she has a day job as a columnist, but I didn't feel like the history of ancient Rome and her one-liners mixed well. Maybe the rest of the book was OK but I couldn't get past the first 14 pages....The premise of the book seemed a little far-fetched -- I guess trying to make modern readers feel better about their breakups b/c historical figures went through far nuttier ones...?? eh, I dunno. I think you'd have to have some background in the specific areas of history and literature she's referencing to know what she's talking about for a lot of this book. She tries to give a humorous account of the background for the figures she's profiling, but it just makes me roll my eyes b/c it doesn't work.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    This was a different kind of book for me! I don't generally read a lot of nonfiction, even though I'm always saying I want to read more. But then I read this interview with Jennifer Wright, and I just knew I had to check it out. I love history and I love hearing about other people's drama. Plus the book starts with two quotes - one from Buddha and one from Taylor Swift (two of our greatest philosophers). I knew I was gonna like it. As the title suggests, this book covers thirteen of the most terri This was a different kind of book for me! I don't generally read a lot of nonfiction, even though I'm always saying I want to read more. But then I read this interview with Jennifer Wright, and I just knew I had to check it out. I love history and I love hearing about other people's drama. Plus the book starts with two quotes - one from Buddha and one from Taylor Swift (two of our greatest philosophers). I knew I was gonna like it. As the title suggests, this book covers thirteen of the most terrible, violent, heart-wrenching and just bizarre breakups in world history. And, boy, are there some doozies. You will never feel bad about drunk texting you ex again -- at least you didn't send him a bloody lock of pubic hair (seriously)! Starting in 55 AD with continuing through the late 20th Century, Wright captures the full spectrum of failed relationships and the often crazy circumstances created by them. This book has the potential to be major bummer. The stories are all about people losing love, often with an extra dose of murder, adultery, and even one life-size sex doll. But Wright makes the smart decision to write about the breakups in a delightfully snarky and hilarious way. She understands and celebrates the ridiculousness of the stories without taking away from the historical details. Her enthusiasm for the historical figures is infectious - you can tell she's a true history nerd who would be a total asset to any trivia night team. I am not a historical expert (can you tell?) but this book seemed really well-researched to me. The bibliography is extensive, especially for a book that's only around 250 pages. It has a lot of great links and resources for people who want to learn more about the historical figures mentioned (I definitely did). Wright also makes an effort to include some helpful life lessons from each breakup, like learning to be happy on your own and knowing that it's always okay to leave a bad relationship. While none of them are particularly revolutionary, I appreciate that Wright found common themes between breakups from centuries ago to our romantic entanglements today. This is a fun read for anyone interested in some of the most significant and outlandish relationships in history. I think it would also make a great gift for any friend you have going through a bad breakup who could use a healthy dose of perspective. Definitely one of the most memorable books I read this year! The full list of breakups covered in this collection are: 1. Nero and Poppaea 2. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II (Eleanor is my new favorite historical figure, btw) 3. Lucrezia Borgia and Giovanni Sforza 4. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard 5. Anna Ivanovna 6. Timothy Dexter 7. Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron (the aforementioned pubic hair incident) 8. John Ruskin and Effie Gray 9. Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas 10. Edith Wharton and Morotn Fullerton 11. Oskar Kokoschka and Alma Mahler 12. Norman Mailer and Adele Morales Mailer 13. Debbie Reynods and Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Maas

    The funniest historian of the modern era plus a can't miss premise equals a great book I first fell in love with Jennifer Wright's style with Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, which combined a Jon Stewart level of humor with real writing, and real history. In short, she's not just some snarky blogger, she's a real historian who knows how and when to wring laughs out of difficult subjects. I like to place my historians with a 'best' logline. Stacy Schiff writes th The funniest historian of the modern era plus a can't miss premise equals a great book I first fell in love with Jennifer Wright's style with Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, which combined a Jon Stewart level of humor with real writing, and real history. In short, she's not just some snarky blogger, she's a real historian who knows how and when to wring laughs out of difficult subjects. I like to place my historians with a 'best' logline. Stacy Schiff writes the best sentences. That's her style - her florid prose brings you down her books as if you are floating down a river. Jennifer Wright has the best humor. She brings the history first, and only brings her humor at just the right times - so make no mistake. She's a real historian, who just happens to throw in a joke to ease the tension here and there, or often, to elucidate a point in the way only a joke can. It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History is no exception to her consistent style - it's funny, takes on a broad sweep of history, and elucidates things you had never previously thought required elucidating Get Well Soon takes on a consistent theme - plagues. It Ended Badly takes on a less historically notable theme, but one with which we can all relate - breakups. And we see the worst. She first starts by forgiving us for our own crazy tales - Undoubtedly, love is a dangerous and potentially fatal game. But what alternative do we have? It’s the only sport in town. Without its pursuit, what would we do? We might build more aqueducts and have more scientific cures, but what for? Those accomplishments exist so we can have more years to brew coffee with our partners in the morning. And then she forgives us even further - because even if we've had some crazy breakup tales, ours are probably not that bad compared to the characters in history she shows. We see Nero acting insane in indescribable ways. We see Henry VIII going from crazy handsome young guy, to crazier older guy. We see Norman Mailer stabbing his second wife in the heart at a party, and most importantly - feeling no remorse. We see Elizabeth Taylor getting married again and again and again - side note that she was no harlot, because she may have married every man she went out with - and this tale actually ends somewhat well. In short, this is a highly relatable, highly informative book You can read each chapter one at a time, and out of order, which I did. You can relate to it through the common - though magnified - feelings of the main characters, like I did. You can get insight into history because it goes across thousands of years - like I did. But whatever the case, you should check it out. The relationships may have ended badly, but Jennifer Wrights books do not. They're great.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was an AMAZINGLY fun read and I ended up reading parts of various chapters to my husband. That took a while because there were points where I was laughing too hard to breathe. All of my favorite awful relationships are here - Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Borgias, Oscar Wilde!! I understand some readers are going to be annoyed/irked/offended by such a chatty writing style being paired with history, but I personally loved it. Ms. Wright is apparently my soul sister when it comes to s This was an AMAZINGLY fun read and I ended up reading parts of various chapters to my husband. That took a while because there were points where I was laughing too hard to breathe. All of my favorite awful relationships are here - Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Borgias, Oscar Wilde!! I understand some readers are going to be annoyed/irked/offended by such a chatty writing style being paired with history, but I personally loved it. Ms. Wright is apparently my soul sister when it comes to slightly rambling, somewhat snarky narration and I really felt like she was sitting on my couch, eating ice cream, and casually gabbing about totally horrible things that happened in history. I get this. I get her and her sense of humor. My husband gets her too and is currently researching buying a boat and some random stuff so we too can be absurdly rich (read the book, it will make sense). In closing, Norman Mailer is the worst. THE WORST. But while we are being angry about the possibly gender-biased amnesia society grants to men who have created great things but also done awful things, I have to amend my new personal credo to "Norman Mailer is the worst, except perhaps for Roman Polanski...because he sucks too".

  24. 5 out of 5

    verbava

    Evolutionary biologists found that people experiencing heartbreak have brain scans that mirror those of cocaine addicts in withdrawal. We do not handle breakups well. Humans are unbelievably resilient creatures in the face of most of the world’s horrors. We are brave in battle, heroic in the face of disease, and really just terrific on the whole until someone breaks up with us. And then we absolutely implode. захоплива книжка про катастрофічні фінали стосунків і про те, як деякі люди їх не дуже д Evolutionary biologists found that people experiencing heartbreak have brain scans that mirror those of cocaine addicts in withdrawal. We do not handle breakups well. Humans are unbelievably resilient creatures in the face of most of the world’s horrors. We are brave in battle, heroic in the face of disease, and really just terrific on the whole until someone breaks up with us. And then we absolutely implode. захоплива книжка про катастрофічні фінали стосунків і про те, як деякі люди їх не дуже добре переживають. аж до «знайти юнака, схожого на покійну дружину, каструвати його і вдавати, що він це вона» недобре, але, з іншого боку, чого ще чекати від нерона. прост(іш)і смертні обмежувалися дрібнішими виявами туги, наприклад, виготовленням плюшевої ляльки людських розмірів і сованням її за собою на світські прийоми (оскар кокошка, коли з ним порвала альма малер, одна з моїх улюблених героїнь у цій книжці) або надсиланням лобкового волосся, необережно відрізаного, тому з кров'ю, в любовних записках – і проханнями відповісти аналогічним жестом (керолайн лем, коли її покинув байрон). якось аж закрадається думка, що, може, недарма ці стосунки припинялися.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    A fun, interesting book that will definitely make you feel better about your worst break-up. Jennifer Wright's prose is sparkling, enthralling and informative, rendering you unable to put it down. A fun, interesting book that will definitely make you feel better about your worst break-up. Jennifer Wright's prose is sparkling, enthralling and informative, rendering you unable to put it down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    A very funny collection of history essays on famous bad (to put it lightly) relationships and breakups from ancient Rome to Medieval Europe to golden age Hollywood. Just as entertaining and tongue in cheek while remaining quite informative as the wonderful Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. I can't wait to read more of Wright's history books! A very funny collection of history essays on famous bad (to put it lightly) relationships and breakups from ancient Rome to Medieval Europe to golden age Hollywood. Just as entertaining and tongue in cheek while remaining quite informative as the wonderful Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. I can't wait to read more of Wright's history books!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsay

    I really liked this. I read Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright last month and loooooved it. So I wanted to pick up something else by her almost immediately. And I’m glad I picked this up in February, the month of love. It felt appropriate and it was tons of fun. Plus I learned something, which is what I always want with my nonfiction. Jennifer Wright is an author that I can see myself reading pretty much anything by in the future because I’ve now loved two books by her. I’ll write a more thought o I really liked this. I read Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright last month and loooooved it. So I wanted to pick up something else by her almost immediately. And I’m glad I picked this up in February, the month of love. It felt appropriate and it was tons of fun. Plus I learned something, which is what I always want with my nonfiction. Jennifer Wright is an author that I can see myself reading pretty much anything by in the future because I’ve now loved two books by her. I’ll write a more thought out review in a bit, but just know that I hiiiighly recommend this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    Shockingly fantastic. Wright produced a wonderfully opinionated, extremely quick witted, and even more entertaining look at some of the worst breakups through the ages. For her research, Wright reached way back to the age of Emperor Nero. Her down to Earth retelling of his relations with his mother, his lovers, and his citizens will forever be seared into my brain. Mostly this is because I felt as if I were having drinks with Wright as she talked about ancient history using the most comic and re Shockingly fantastic. Wright produced a wonderfully opinionated, extremely quick witted, and even more entertaining look at some of the worst breakups through the ages. For her research, Wright reached way back to the age of Emperor Nero. Her down to Earth retelling of his relations with his mother, his lovers, and his citizens will forever be seared into my brain. Mostly this is because I felt as if I were having drinks with Wright as she talked about ancient history using the most comic and relatable style imaginable. There is little doubt you will actually want to hang out with her IRL after reading this. I get so tired of small talk and avoid most social gatherings for just that reason. Wright seems like she would be the cure to all social functions. The stories she chooses to tell, the insight and ferociously funny commentary that accompanies them just felt like being with the friend you always dream of meeting at a party but never do. If you want to be entertained with odd and interesting tidbits of information, told by an extremely skilled writer, then do yourself a favor and get this book. Some highlights, told in a seriously disappointing manner that could never live up to the way the author spins a tale: - Nero was a mama's boy whose girlfriend told him to grow a pair. He did. People were subsequently humiliated, tortured, and killed in the most fucked up ways possible. - As bad as Nero is, the author hates Norman Mailer even more and will have no problem telling you why. -Wright is sick of all the people who have protected mailer over the years and her argument for why will make you want her as the face of the #metoo movement today, so that she can help get the message to all of the people who still don't get it. She will do this with courage, conviction, solid points, and unwavering decisiveness, but will deliver it with humor so that it is better received. What a gift. - Didn't love Eleanor of Aquitaine before? You will now. I have read several books on Eleanor and have loved them all. What a life! Yet, somehow Wrights very short telling of her life was better than the richly detailed and much longer accounts I have read and treasured. I want Wright to feed me all of my history from now on! Eleanor was a badass of epic proportion and, imo, is the hero of this entire book. - Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor showed us how to get over a break up in the best possible way. - You probably thought you were aware of how badly people act when they break up. After all, who hasn’t watch glen close boil bunnies? If you think you understand the full repertoire of bad behaviors following a breakup, you’re probably wrong. Wright will bring you up to speed, especially when recounts the day Caroline Lamb sent her bloody pubic hair to Lord Byron and they battled through public prose, much in the way rappers when they diss each other in song do. It was sort of what it might be like if Eminem's Kim responded to his psycho rants by going public with songs of her own. - There was a creepy sex doll who literally traveled around town, in the upper crust of society, attending social functions and being treated like any other guest..... You are just going to need to read the book to fully appreciate how this could possibly be.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I always say I don't like history and I don't like reading non-fiction, and I think now that is a lie. What I don't like is the way it's generally presented to me, as a dry list of facts or a room full of academics talking about the impact of the industrial revolution on the modern family. Yuck. As far as history goes, I like to see the tawdry underside of it. The affairs, the murders, the questionable romances, the drunk uncles, the thieving politicians. My sister wanted to go to one of the Newpor I always say I don't like history and I don't like reading non-fiction, and I think now that is a lie. What I don't like is the way it's generally presented to me, as a dry list of facts or a room full of academics talking about the impact of the industrial revolution on the modern family. Yuck. As far as history goes, I like to see the tawdry underside of it. The affairs, the murders, the questionable romances, the drunk uncles, the thieving politicians. My sister wanted to go to one of the Newport Mansion tours once and asked me to pick one. I said, "Which one has the most scandal and drama?" This book is full of all that scandal and drama and told in a hilarious, fresh voice. It was like the book version of Drunk History. "Pacts with the devil have been made many times. There is no other way to explain the popularity of the book Fifty Shades of Grey." LOL! This book is perfect for anyone going through a break-up, who has been through a break-up, or is dating anyone, or will ever date anyone, so basically...everyone. No matter how traumatic your break-up has been, I doubt you sent them a bloody wad of pubic hair, told everyone your living partner was a ghost, or made a polar bear skin dummy of your ex-lover to take to parties. This book is proof that crazy exes existed throughout history! I am also 100% convinced that Timothy Dexter is some orange president who shall not be named. -Made all his money through dumb luck -Built a giant mansion with 40 statues of men he considered "great." 2 of those statues were of himself. - Referred to himself as "Lord." - Gave a speech in French, even though he doesn't know French, which consisted of gibberish and hand waving. We can learn lessons here, folks. This book is divided neatly into 13 stories, so you can read one, laugh hysterically, set it aside and read one later. I highly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    To sum up my opinion on this book, let me say this: Jennifer Wright is your friend. Just as valuable as the hardworking servicewomen who get brunch with you, listen to horror stories about Facebook stalking your ex again (seriously, I could never get him to meet my parents and suddenly he's spending the weekend at her sister's wedding?!), and holding your hair back as you vomit for the very same reasons; Jennifer Wright is being a good friend. She will look the other way as you order yet another To sum up my opinion on this book, let me say this: Jennifer Wright is your friend. Just as valuable as the hardworking servicewomen who get brunch with you, listen to horror stories about Facebook stalking your ex again (seriously, I could never get him to meet my parents and suddenly he's spending the weekend at her sister's wedding?!), and holding your hair back as you vomit for the very same reasons; Jennifer Wright is being a good friend. She will look the other way as you order yet another bloody mary, patiently understand that oh my god that is so shitty of him, and pat you on the back, reminding you that at least you were not dating Norman Mailer. There is no one who can't appreciate this book. I actually went into this one a bit biased, I loved Wright's blog Shelved Dolls so much I have an actual shelf on this website built around it, and was eagerly awaiting more historical hilarity from this book. I was not disappointed. And while the delivery of each story was still as witty and fun and relevant as ever, I was surprised by the comfort this book offered. For better or worse, break ups happen to everyone, and the freshly dumped might find a shoulder to cry on from this read. And then laughter. This brought on some really good, genuine laughter. Wright gets how history appeals to people like me; this book separates the stodgy and pretentious and instead just lets all the crazy play out. I'm in the back of the classroom watching the drama unfold. Caroline Lamb did what?! It's the cool kid's table where everyone is witty and well dressed and fucking batshit insane half the time. Oh my god. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are at it again. I brought my own popcorn. Jennifer Wright is your cool friend. And what gets you through a break-up better than your friends? Historical dramas, if you are me, more likely Channing Tatum movies for most people, but if you are like me you can have the best of both worlds. I'm realizing now that insisting this person I have never met before is my friend is a little unhinged of me, but I don't care. This book is that good. We're buds. She gets no say in the matter I've already decided. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. And while I love history, I often find myself really digging for stuff that doesn't feel too dry, and this is it. Comprehensive but also funny, I was never bored. I can not build up this book enough, I want more of it. I keep plowing through the archives of Shelved Dolls (which you can find on The Gloss), another, please, soon!

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