Five Men Who Broke My Heart: A Memoir

Five Men Who Broke My Heart: A Memoir

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by Susan Shapiro

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In this honest, hilarious, fiercely intelligent memoir, journalist Susan Shapiro dares to do what every woman dreams of: track down the five men who'd broken her heart and find out what really went wrong. Between the ages of thirteen and thirty-five, Susan had plunged into love, heart-first, five times. One bad breakup was more hurtful and humiliating than the next.…  See more details below


In this honest, hilarious, fiercely intelligent memoir, journalist Susan Shapiro dares to do what every woman dreams of: track down the five men who'd broken her heart and find out what really went wrong. Between the ages of thirteen and thirty-five, Susan had plunged into love, heart-first, five times. One bad breakup was more hurtful and humiliating than the next.

With insight and daring, Susan chronicles her six-month-long journey back down a road strewn with romantic regret. Although for years she'd blamed her boyfriends for their flagrant infidelity, ludicrous faults, and immature foibles, to her shock she can now suddenly pinpoint the exact moment where she herself screwed up each relationship.

A successful freelance writer living in Manhattan, Susan Shapiro was in the midst of a midlife crisis she called her "no-book-no-baby summer." Married for five years to Aaron, a workaholic TV comedy writer always on the road, she was beginning to wonder if she'd remain book- and babyless forever. Then the phone rang, and it was Brad, a college flame who'd become a Harvard scientist with a book coming out. Susan offers to interview him, and she winds up launching into all the intense, invasive questions she'd always wanted to ask him. To her surprise, he answers them! This ignites a spark that sends her on a cross-country jaunt back through her lust-littered past.

While Brad is still single, she finds that Heartbreaks Number Two, Three, and Four are not. George, a theater professor, and Richard, a music biographer, are happily married with children. Tom, a handsome blond lawyer in L.A., is getting divorced. Just as it's becoming easy to worm her way back into her exes' goodgraces, she crashes head-on with David, a wry Canadian root canal specialist. ("It's the equivalent of what you did to me emotionally," she tells him.) She then gut-wrenchingly relives the agony of splitting up with her first love all over again. Yet somewhere between the tantalizing what-ifs and bittersweet might-have-beens, she finds what she's been searching for all along.

Part relationship manifesto, part confessional, and part valentine to the males in her life she adores, Five Men Who Broke My Heart is for anyone who has ever wondered what became of their first love. Or second, third, fourth, or fifth...

Susan Shapiro has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice,, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Jane.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers of Shapiro's memoir may find themselves wishing her romantic history contained more than five heartbreaking men. Cruel as this may sound, Shapiro's often funny and always heartfelt recollections of past relationships are so entertaining, it's a shame she doesn't have an endless supply of material. The seasoned journalist (the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, etc.) was initially inspired to track down her former lovers when an old college flame found her six months before her 40th birthday, at a time when, although happily married, "I was staggering through a vulnerable stretch of midlife crisis: `my no-book-no-baby-summer.' " Her and Brad's casual but emotionally freighted meeting (where Brad's features "seemed splattered across his face like a platypus") left Shapiro with a hankering for the lowdown on her other great loves. And so, in part as an escape from the disappointment of infertility, she embarked on a cross-country jaunt to reconnect with her beaux: the beach boy, the biographer, the aptly nicknamed "root canal" and her remarkably tolerant husband, Aaron. In the end, she admits "all of my old boyfriends had lost their luster. They'd been demystified, reduced to friendship. That's what I'd been doing these past six months-I had successfully declawed my past." Luckily for her audience, the result is a delightfully kaleidoscopic autobiography of an impulsive and passionate woman who comes of age with style. Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan. (Dec. 30) Forecast: Print ads and author publicity should help this original memoir achieve strong holiday sales. Shapiro has earned advance praise from Erica Jong, Ian Frazier, Molly Jong-Fast and Joan Rivers. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Freelancer Shapiro's debut memoir catches up with the perps of her top five heartbreaks and rehashes her romantic history. Approaching 40, the author is suffering the throes of a " 'no-book-no-baby' summer" in New York City. The novel she spent five years writing has been turned down (again), her workaholic husband Aaron is on another business trip, and his lack of sperm motility has thwarted her attempts to get pregnant. Enter ex-boyfriend #1: "Half linebacker, half bespectacled science nerd," Brad arrives from Boston, his already-sold manuscript in hand. Shapiro pushes aside her resentment ("What the hell did he mean-he had a book coming out. I was the writer!") and invites him over. In high-heeled "fuck-me slingbacks," she entertains thoughts of "jumping Brad on the living room floor, getting pregnant, moving to Boston." Instead, they have lunch. Shapiro steers the conversation to what happened between them years before, conducting the first of her belated exit interviews with former flames. While this conceit was a hit in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Shapiro's execution is flimsier. Her light, breezy tone all but assures readers that she won't be betraying her husband, so her story lacks the tension of something truly being at stake. And she fails to convey a genuine sense of necessity about her quest, whose purpose is diffuse. Although Aaron's aloofness makes his spouse wonder if she "flunked all five breakups" (she felt abandoned by her exes, feels abandoned by him), and his infertility makes her question whether they're "flawed as a couple," it's not clear how dredging up the detritus of lost loves will shed light. But Shapiro's story is less enlightening than entertaining. Whileher candor can give her writing the appearance of real soul-searching, in fact she merely blazes through each encounter, capturing the flirtatious repartee and humor but glossing over the more complicated motivations and emotions. Amusing-but lacks genuine self-reflection and depth.

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Product Details

Dell Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.84(d)

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Five Men Who Broke My Heart 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very funny book. I enjoyed it immensely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whew. I JUST COULDN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN! Five Men Who Broke My Heart is a memoir written by Susan Shapiro about her former loves. Susan sets out to find out what went wrong in each relationship and to somehow find the final 'closure.' Her writing doesn't let you go, you're constantly hooked, page by page to the very end. I finished this in one day and believe me, it was worth reading through the night and being very tired the next morning at work. The characters are so well drawn that you cannot help but care about all of them - even the jerky ones! Guys, I know I'm a chick myself but this is a good book for guys to read - it's not entirely chick lit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book could have been a lot better if the main character wasn't so self-involved and self-destructive to a point where it was hard to enjoy her. She spends a good majority of the book moping and feeling sorry forself and as the reader all you want to shake her and say 'of course all of these men broke you're heart, your needy and pathetic'. Instead of a book describing one woman's adventures in love and hearbreak, it accurately describes one women's inability to focus on anyone other than herself enough for more than a few moments.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This one is truly for ANYONE who has ever lived, loved and cried over a relationship. The concept of 'interviewing' ex-lovers to find out what had become of them and just maybe do a bit of revisionist thinking was certainly intriguing. I have a busy schedule, but devoured this one in two evenings and as I read, it made me recall good and bad relationships along the way. I could relate to much of the book, and I was a bit envious of Susan Shapiro's journey through the past. (I was also remembering with more than a little envy the single life). In the end, though, when I finished the book, I was grateful for the life I've chosen with my husband and little boys. All in all, a humorous read that supplied me with a trip down memory lane!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be sadly funny. I felt, myself at times, almost feeling guilty for spying on the author's pain. Thank God, she writes with so much humor and frankness. She openly invites you to laugh at her foibles along her path to self revelation. Thoroughly entertaining!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book. I loved that Susan Shapiro was so honest with the detail of her writing. I also enjoyed how blunt, and personable her writing was. This is a very good book. Susan Shapiro style of writing pulled me in. I did not want to put this book down. I would recommend this book, and I have. The only qualm I have with the book was the ending. I did not care for it. We went on this journey through Susan¿s, past, and present, and I was expecting some closure. When I was reading the last page, I did note realize that this was the last page; I turned it looking for more, which there wasn¿t. Please don't get me wrong. I liked that she included her and her fathers relationship, and what she came to understand, it just ended on an odd note. I would recommend this book, even with the ending. It¿s a witty, smart, sexy, novel, by a very modern woman. This book is a good example of courageous women, leaving her small town to take on the big city, but underneath it all, her heart is in her Michigan home town! What a good read!