Best Books for Getting Breakup-Drunk To

Best Books for Getting Breakup-Drunk To

By Eugene S. Robinson


Because those embarrassing, overly literary, late-night texts are not going to send themselves.

By Eugene S. Robinson

All of this novel coronavirus quarantining, with its attendant unremitting togetherness, might make you realize one thing … and that one thing is that in the likelihood that you actually live through this madness? Your relationship probably won’t. You think that’s a reach? Well, have you ever tried spending endless days and nights with YOU?

Bet you haven’t. So there you are. Your relationship is DONE, and if you did the dumping, yours are feelings of guilt, and if you were the dumped, you are probably in desperate need of something that will both occupy your mind and not interfere with your restorative drinking. We got it.

And not because we’ve been there too but … OK, well, yeah … because we’ve been there too. And because we’ve been there too, our picks are solid, stone-cold locks for getting you through the doldrums and out of the dire straits of both drink and depression and right back into the early stages of doing it all again.

Or like Charles Bukowski once said, “I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.”

Which is to say, here are the best books to read with the best drinks for wallowing in post-breakup depression.


Natalie Clifford Barney, Lawrence Durrell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon

File Under: “I Don’t WANT to Get Over It!”

Something sort of sexy about the Roaring ’20s.

Maybe it’s just that the café culture was heavily populated by people who could afford to hang out in cafés in Paris during the day without worrying about getting back to a job anytime soon. But when you think of Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Hemingway and Picasso, it’s the lesser names that always stick with me the most. Just sort of the semitragic aspect of being that close to greatness and being a footnote of that greatness.

But, you know what? Better a footnote than no note at all.

Which means you should be reading about the openly gay Natalie Clifford Barney, the lovelorn Lawrence Durrell, or the murder, bigamy and illegitimacy of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Because remember, when you laugh, the world laughs with you. But when you cry? You cry alone. With a book to catch your tears.

Drunk man in bar

Why, Yes. I WILL Have Another!

Drinking, and certainly drinking to excess, has always had a certain stigma attached to it. Like car crashing, job loss and the frequently conjoined divorce rates that attach to it, maybe deservedly so.

But when you peruse the names of famous teetotalers, one stands out above the rest: Adolf Hitler. Now if ever there was a man sorely in need of a drink it had to be the furious Führer. Which is not to imply that living a clean and sober lifestyle will inevitably lead to visions of global domination (though being pumped full of drugs by his doctor might), but more that if you’re going to wallow in post-breakup depression, one of the better ways to do it has to be with a glass in your hand. With or without your toes in the sand.

So go ahead. Combine drinking alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks with weed-infused specialties for a taste treat that lifts you up while it smooths you out. You’ll probably still want to cry, but you know it takes a certain amount of effort to cry and really who … hey, what were we talking about again?

Oh, yes: the joys of drinking like a Brazilian, regardless of whether you’ve ever been to Brazil. If you wanted to sip away your depression like a true Carioca, this is the way it must be done.

And if not like this, then like a rum-drinking pirate. Especially since pirates were not much known for maundering about the house in a depressive haze listening to Morrissey on repeat. Of course, if you’re going to drink rum, probably best to drink the rum made by someone who was friends with the guy who invented James Bond.

See, now don’t you feel better already?



1. The Clown: Heinrich Böll’s 1963 tale of being dumped by the love of his life for someone else wasn’t enough to stop the church from hating his take on Catholicism. They were even pissed that he got a Nobel Prize for literature out of it.

2. Anna Karenina: Leo Tolstoy’s take on marriage, infidelity and suicide by train is perfectly suitable for wallowing. So, yes: Enjoy the wallow.

3. Talking It Over: Julian Barnes’ love story reads like a horror story. We’re NOT kidding.

4. Looking for Mr. Goodbar: Yeah, they made a movie from Judith Rossner’s novel, which she spun off from a magazine article that some editor somewhere killed, but the based-on-a-true-story of looking for love in the wrong places? Depressing. And wonderful.

5. The Denzel Principle: Jimi Izrael’s book is sold as a work of relationship self-help, which is the funniest thing about this very funny and unexpectedly dark take on what it takes to try to make a relationship work. If you’re a woman. In love with Denzel Washington.

6. Snow White and Russian Red: Dorota Maslowska won awards for this book that hit when she was 21, and it’s a dizzying dive into Polish relationship dysfunction that will make you both happy that you’ve been dumped and even happier yet to try it again. At some point. Like, in the future, you know.