Books & Literature

Book Review: The Breakup Monologues, by Rosie Wilby

SELF-HELP: A love letter to breakups & a celebration of what they have taught, peppered with anecdotes from friends and interviews with specialists.

Amusing and insightful but not as funny as one would expect from an established comedian.

Rosie Wilby’s amusing and insightful review of relationships and breakups isn’t the rip-snorting read you would expect from a successful comedian, but it has its moments and is written in that casual stand-up comedy style of talking that doesn’t necessarily follow a straight path.

The biggest comedy killer of the book is its formatting. It is text heavy in that her tales unfold in lengthy paragraphs and very little white space. The solid blocks of text on almost every page require far more concentration than a light read should. Wilby also uses footnotes at the bottom of many pages, printed in very small font and distracting from the flow of the text above. Certainly, the topic itself isn’t that light, but what few laughs there are, are often stifled by the focus required to get to them.

Overall, the book is a fairly interesting read. It’s amusing and educational. Wilby refers to research and experts in the field of relationships and grief. She covers off breakups between partners, friends and work relationships, with lots of anecdotes about her own trials and tribulations, and those of people she knows.

Her ultimate message is that the difficulties of relationships ending can be a steppingstone to becoming stronger, more self-aware and more positive about your future. There is hope, no matter how needed or difficult the breakup is. And that’s the strength of her informative tome.

Her scribblings are relevant to all sexualities, and more than once she gives a nod to those in non-conforming relationships, such as those in an open or polyamorous commitment. About herself, she refers back to her most significant breakups which she introduces in the opening chapter: the nice ex-girlfriend, secretive ex-girlfriend, agoraphobic ex-girlfriend, boozy ex-girlfriend, older ex-girlfriend, first-ever ex-girlfriend, and an ex-boyfriend. Mostly, however, she shares the story of her current relationship with she who is simply known as Girlfriend.

The Breakup Monologues doesn’t really meet expectations, and despite the light tone and oft-amusing moments, there’s very little to make you laugh out loud. Those going through a breakup may not want to read this until they’re well on the way to healing. For anyone else, it’s an interesting read if nothing else.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Australia
Released: 3 August 2021
RRP: $34.99

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