Real Simple
Updated May 24, 2018 @ 4:24 pm
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Finding the right breakup book, much like finding the right breakup haircut, is an essential step in coming to terms with the end of any long term relationship. You’ve had your heart stomped on and blown into smithereens, yes, but these five books will help you to wallow, cry, sulk, heal, and eventually move on.

1. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed

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Sometimes, when life feels like garbage, it’s nice to know that everyone else is having a bad time, too. Tiny Beautiful Things collects the best of Strayed’s advice column, “Dear Sugar.” Here you’ve find tumultuous breakups and family drama, minor inconveniences and questions far too big for any one advice columnist to tackle. Strayed does her level best, though, and the result is a beautiful, insightful book of humor and honesty. It might not heal your broken heart in one go, but it’ll remind you that life goes on even after the most devastating blows.

2. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami

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Running is certainly not everyone’s go-to hobby after a bad breakup. Murakami’s memoir is not just about running, though: It’s about finding some method of staying centered. By turns funny and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running follows Murakami’s romance with distance running. He started in 1982, and one year later he was running the course from Athens to the town of Marathon. It’s a book that encourages you to challenge yourself (even if running is not your challenge of choice), to find time for contemplation, and to keep moving forward after you’ve faced an enormous setback.

3. Blankets, by Craig Thompson

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Somehow, Thompson has taken the bleak, snowy expanse of a Wisconsin winter and created something achingly romantic. Blankets is a quiet, beautiful graphic novel about first love and first heartbreak. Young Craig has fallen head over heels in love with a girl at church camp, prompting him to second guess his family’s philosophy and everything he’s been raised to believe. This is the book to read when you want to remember the heady rush of falling in love for the first time, and it’s the book to read when a relationship simply falls apart.

4. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

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Alternatively, you could read a book about framing your husband for your own murder. I mean, look, sometimes you don’t want romance and positive thinking when you’re going through a breakup. Sometimes you want a diabolical mastermind getting back at her cheating pig of a husband. Both Amy and Nick Dunne, the “perfect” couple at the center of Gone Girl, are not quite what they seem to be. Amy’s always been the flawless, “cool girl” wife, and her sudden disappearance puts Nick under the spotlight. As Nick tries to clear his name, however, he begins to uncover the horrifying truth about the woman he married.

5. Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing, by Erika Lopez

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Honestly, sometimes the best medicine for a breakup is to hop on your motorcycle and just drive. That’s what Tomato Rodriguez does when she embarks on her girls-only adventure across America. She’s in search of the ideal post office, or maybe the perfect bisexual role model. Either way, this book is part road trip novel, part irreverent send up of road trip novels, complete with hilarious stream-of-consciousness narration, vintage rubber stamp illustrations, and a heaping helping of joy.

This article originally appeared on Real Simple.