Breakups have provided enough inspiration for Comedian and writer Rosie Wilby to be dubbed by Radio 4 as ‘the Queen of Breakups’. It all started when Wilby got dumped via email in 2011, since then this incident has spawned a podcast, a show, and now two books, Is Monogamy Dead and Wilby’s latest The Breakup Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak.
Breakups might seem an odd muse at first, but when you think about it, it makes total sense. In fact, it’s arguable that breakups have become a device in modern literature used to sum up a character’s personality and their presumed raison d’etre; to get back together with the dumper (as it were). For instance, if a hetero, cis-male character, is dumped we know he is adorable and the woman who has left him is a cold bitch whose comeuppance will be a final plot twist. However, in Wilby’s book The Breakup Monologues it becomes clear that there isn’t necessarily a villain in a breakup and sometimes there isn’t even a relationship before a breakup.
In fact, using anecdotal and scientific evidence Wilby demonstrates that breakups can be a positive turning point, hence the subtitle of the book ‘The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak’. Naturally, the book is fascinating because it merges science with something we all love and that’s gossip. A juicy breakup story is always brilliant, when my ex dumped me at the Eurostar post-check-in, pre-trip to Paris my first thought was ‘I want my money back’, my second thought was ‘when I stop crying, this is going to make such a good story.’ By the way, once you have checked in at the Eurostar St Pancras International, they don’t let you just… walkout. Much bag searching and interrogation goes on.
It’s not just breakups from romantic relationships that Wilby examines, she also considers the breakup of friendships, professional relationships, and also breakups from the relationship that never was. An incident that rarely gets the airtime it deserves because it so often gets dismissed as a crush and you’re apparently not supposed to get those once you grow past the age of 16. This is of course not so and these occurrences can be just as devastating even if they don’t require the admin involved in a divorce or separation.
With stories from the likes of Richard Herring, Sofie Hagen and Wilby’s own round-up of past relationships, The Breakup Monologues provides relatable insight into all kinds of relationships, why they end and how heartbreak really can bring unexpected joy.
Rosie Wilby’s The Breakup Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak is available in hardback from 27th May. Pre-order your copy here!