Maybe You Are Better Off

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Maybe You Are Better Off

Anti-Valentine's Day Books

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
 
-Tennyson
 
This year on Valentine’s Day you may find yourself alone.  So what?  If novels are anything to go by, terrible, terrible things can happen to people in love. May I suggest that you pick up one of the following books for a bit of guilty schadenfreude?  Yes there is love in these books, but rarely the kind you learn and grow from. There are bummer endings with heartache inflicted on multiple people, and often a death count.   In short, this Valentine’s Day (or whenever you sorrow most) forget about what Mr. “Charge of the Light Brigade” says.  Read one of these books and consider maybe it IS better never to have loved at all.
 
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Meet Maurice Bendrix, the bitterest man on the planet.  Super angry about the titular affair ending, Maurice spends the majority of the book railing against his former lover Sarah, her husband Henry, and God.  It's beautifully written, but I haven't read another book that makes being in love seem less appealing.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The main love affair in this story- between Geographical Society members Katharine Clifton and Count Ladislaus de Almásy- is probably the most appealing one on this list since it involves beautiful desert locations and wartime romance. Also, if the movie is anything to go by, they had great clothes too.  However, if you could ask either Katharine or Almasy if they would do the same thing all over again, you would probably get a "no" from them both.  Things....do not end well.      

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Yeah I said it.  Some people (a lot of people,actually) consider the doomed story of Heathcliff and Catherine to be the greatest love story of all time. but the bulk of the story consists of the two lovers finding new ways to inflict pain on each other, often through innocent bystanders.  Do you really want that for yourself?

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Frank and April Wheeler are a bored and frustrated couple living in 1950's suburbia. Their dissatisfaction with their lives leads to fighting.  So much vicious fighting.  They decide that the only solution to their problem is to uproot the entire family and move to Paris.  Somehow, this goes even worse than you would expect.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Nick and Amy Dunne are a miserable suburban couple.  What separates them from the other miserable suburban literary couples- the Frank and April Wheelers of the book world- is that one of them has the mind of a super villain.  "Amazing Amy" will mess you up.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen (the [le1o9n8a0rd] section)
Tom Aberant and Anabel Laird are a terrible couple pretty much from the start, but they can't seem to shake each other. Also, since the story of their marriage occurs about halfway through an otherwise decent book (and you are going to finish it, darn it!) you're stuck with them.  It is an excruciating slog.  Seperate, they are tolerable chracters, but together they are unbearable.  This actually isn't a recommendation so much as a warning.  However, it does meet the criteria for this list.

There you go.  I hope this list helps. Also, may any future loves of yours be free of faked murders, slow cave deaths, and moors.  Definitely stay away from the moors.  Nothing good ever happens there.