I had no clue who Jennifer Wright is (according to her author’s page she is a contributor at The New York Observer and the New York Post) prior to picking up It Ended Badly but I am a fan! She has collected 13 of the worst break ups in history ranging from the well known- Henry VIII – to the relatively unknown- Timothy Dexter.
The primary takeaway I got while reading this was that it sucked to be miserable in your marriage in Victorian England. Also, bitches have been crazy since the beginning of time.
Dexter was probably my favorite; I knew nothing about him prior to this essay and it was also the most bizarre. The man told people his wife was dead because he’d simply moved on from the relationship. She wasn’t dead, she was in the same room.
The book runs the gamut beginning with Nero in 53 CE and ending with the Elizabeth Taylor/Eddie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds love triangle from the early 60s. I’ve read about Elizabeth Taylor’s love life numerous times so it was probably the least interesting to me personally, but the story appearing in a collection of explosive break ups definitely makes sense.
Wright writes about history with a sense of humor; she interjects a lot of personal opinions- most of them purposely ridiculous. For example, she reiterates numerous times throughout the Henry II/Eleanor of Aquitaine chapter that Henry’s sidepiece, Rosamund, had webbed feet because there is so little known about her that she very well could have had webbed feet. Perhaps if you’re looking for a more serious side of history this isn’t the book for you, but I enjoyed the sarcastic interjections.