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Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts [NOOK Book]

Overview

From Junot Díaz, Lynda Barry, Gary Shteyngart, and Kate Christensen to popular up-and-comers like Dan Kennedy, Wendy McClure, and Brock Clarke, Love Is a Four-Letter Word is a dead-on contemporary collection of true stories of seduction, heartbreak, and regret. Fearlessly revealing their shattered hearts and crushed egos; their indiscretions and indignities; their delusions, desperation, and disappointments, these talented writers capture the dark side of love in prose ranging from comic to poetic, poignant to ...
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Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts

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Overview

From Junot Díaz, Lynda Barry, Gary Shteyngart, and Kate Christensen to popular up-and-comers like Dan Kennedy, Wendy McClure, and Brock Clarke, Love Is a Four-Letter Word is a dead-on contemporary collection of true stories of seduction, heartbreak, and regret. Fearlessly revealing their shattered hearts and crushed egos; their indiscretions and indignities; their delusions, desperation, and disappointments, these talented writers capture the dark side of love in prose ranging from comic to poetic, poignant to cringe-inducing. Also featuring three cartoon/ graphic essays as a sixteen-page color insert, this anthology is perfect for anyone who’s ever loved and lost.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Breakups are hard to forget, and this collection-surprisingly restrained yet full of emotion-is equally memorable. Patty Van Norman's two-frame graphic story "Dear Ugly, Dear Fatso" (other graphic entries are from Lynda Barry and Emily Flake) resonates like a quick punch to the solar plexus. Josh Kilmer-Purcell writes of the lover who could only perform with Wonder Woman on the television. George Singleton urinates a bellyful of beer into his ex's kitty litter box. Maud Newton tells of a sex- and rage-filled relationship, wondering: "was he the abusive one, or was I?" Taeckens, publicity director at Algonquin Books, anthologizes modern heartbreak in stories replete with contemporary commentaries (e.g., using Match.com to express a new relationship status). In a book full of hits, Amanda Stern's "Scout's Honor," about camping in the Washington Cascades, stands out. The collection's material could make one feel a bit voyeuristic, but throughout this tender book one instead feels like a privileged confidant. (July 28)

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Kirkus Reviews
A compendium of personal essays and cartoons about heartbreak, penned by 23 contemporary American writers. Editor Taeckens, publicity director for Algonquin Books, gathers a disparate group to share their private travails about love gone wrong. The authors range from married to single, straight to gay and transgendered, and they describe vastly different periods of their lives, from Patty Van Norman's messily scrawled childhood breakup letter ("Dear Ugly and Dear Fatso") to Jami Attenberg's cynical account of a near-reconciliation with a cheating boyfriend, composed in the second person. Many of the stories voice a shared sentiment-a desire to be loved the way the authors have always wanted. Standouts include Junot D'az's "Homecoming, with Turtle," Gary Shteyngart's "Texas" and Maud Newton's "Conversations You Have at Twenty." Humorist Dan Kennedy, author of the acerbic 2008 memoir Rock On, crafts a hilarious piece about dating a divorced aerobics instructor a decade older than he, but Josh Kilmer-Purcell's account of devoting a year to matching his age (25) with casual sex partners falls flat. In "Leave Me Something When You Leave Me," Brock Clarke experiments with repetition, but the result is a grating mess with none of the dark wit that distinguished his acclaimed 2007 novel, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. Kate Christensen writes sparingly of the affair she almost had with a sophomoric high-school teacher, who didn't recognize her after she gained weight. Taeckens contributes an account of his unhealthy entanglement with a cheating teacher (not his). Other contributors include Lynda Barry, Jennifer Finney Boylan and Emily Flake. As is often true of anthologies,uneven but rewarding and worth dipping into from time to time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101105108
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 950,177
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Taeckens is the publicity director for Algonquin Books and received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction Neal Pollack xv

Homecoming, with Turtle Junot Díaz 1

The Last Man on Earth Wendy McClure 8

Trans Jennifer Finney Boylan 24

Exactly like Liz Phair, Except Older. And with Hypochondria. Dan Kennedy 40

Shadow Dancing Kate Christensen 49

Runaway Train Saïd Sayrafiezadeh 62

Conversations You Have at Twenty Maud Newton 85

Twenty-five to One Odds John Kilmer-Purcell 106

The First Time Margaret Sartor 120

The Book of Love and Transformation Michael Taeckens 129

Texas Gary Shteyngart 145

Love and War Stories Michelle Green 149

Leave Me Something When You Leave Me Brock Clarke 161

The Story You Will Tell Jami Attenberg 169

Marking Territory George Singleton 180

The Rules of Repulsion D. E. Rasso 190

Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend Lynda Barry 203

Why Won't You Just Love Me? Emily Flake 214

Dear Ugly, Dear Fatso Patty Van Norman 218

Just Like the Movies Pasha Malla 219

Scout's Honor Amanda Stern 237

This Guy Who Was My Boyfriend for Like Three Weeks Dave White 259

I Love You in Twelve Languages Wendy Brenner 271

About the Authors 291

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent reading.

    Love Is A...is excellent reading. It's good to read about stories that are similar to your own and to be able to overcome the harshness that sometimes comes with being in LOVE. I really felt connected to the authors and thier tales of woe and seduction. This is a definite must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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