This book held me captive for days. It was so good and honest.
Five Men Who Broke My Heart is Susan Shapiro’s memoir that looks back on her past relationships to see how she wound up 40 married and childless. Shapiro runs into an ex who needs some publicity and, as a freelance journalist and adjunct professor, she agrees to write a review of his book for him. It unearths some jealous feelings but also some natural curiosities about what ever happened with them anyway. Then that leads to analyses of other exes all in an effort to understand herself.
I like the mix of memoir and journalism and psychology. She is very much in therapy. You can hear it in some of the language. She’s also not cheating on or lying to her husband. She goes to parties and invites single guys for her friend and wears uncomfortable heels. She gets rejected by one of the old boyfriend to meet up in real life. The introspection of it all is also fluid. Twenty-five years of relationships circle back to her upbringing–what’s expected of her and how she was treated as the only (and oldest) daughter of four.
Five Men is an understanding of what went wrong, what could have been, and how things ended up as they did.
Best line: “A wanna-be slut, my only problem with casual sex was that afterward, I always fell in love. Not normal ‘crunches,’ as Claire and I called them, or having the hots. The loitering, twisted, eternal kind” (Shapiro 21).