"True" Love: Must-Read Memoirs About Love
Everybody likes a good love story—and they’re even better when they’re true. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’re taking you through the best memoirs about love. In recounting how they made it to bliss, these comedians, book editors, and journalists tackle it all: finding love, rejecting love, keeping love, and sometimes losing it. Whether you’re looking for it, hiding from it, or already have it in spades, these books about love are sure to warm your heart.
As a seasoned editor at Harlequin, Patience Bloom knows romance. But, when Romance Is My Day Job opens, her own love life is decidedly lacking in the passion and glamour that she reads about day in and day out. Then one day, an old flame sends her a Facebook message, and everything changes. This memoir is a heartwarming and plucky look at how real-life romance unfolds, and how even the “experts” among us sometimes struggle to find love.
We’ve written a lot about Rob Sheffield’s latest memoir, Turn Around Bright Eyes, which tells the story of how he fell in love with his second wife. But, to best appreciate that journey, you have to start at the beginning. In Love Is a Mix Tape, Sheffield chronicles his first love and the utter heartbreak of losing his first wife, through track listings that evoke the nostalgic days of making mix tapes (and then mix CDs) for your crush.
In her no-nonsense, wisecracking way, comedian Ophira Eisenberg recounts all of the relationships that led this skeptic to actually dive into getting married. Almost anthropological in her methods, Eisenberg recounts her childhood perceptions of marriage, her first experimentations as a teenager and twentysomething, and the good and bad relationships she kept returning to over the years. But the best is when she meets her husband, and especially the chapter about their wedding day. This is a great read for any stalwartly single friend who scoffs at monogamy.
The real heartbreakers aren’t the obvious players, they’re the “sensitive” types who seem like they’d treat you right—just ask Julie Klausner. In this bitingly funny memoir, Klausner recounts a long history of romantic failures and writes a taxonomy of the men she’s unsuccessfully dated. Written on the heels of a wildly popular Modern Love column in the New York Times about being snubbed by an indie-rocker, I Don’t Care About Your Band is Klausner’s cynical treatise on dating jerks in your 20s.
All the serial monogamists out there would do well to live vicariously through Susan Shapiro’s revealing memoir. Suffering a midlife crisis in which she feared that she wouldn’t achieve her goals of a book or a baby, married freelancer Shapiro spent six months revisiting old flames and exes. Having always blamed her old boyfriends for various heartbreaks, she is instead able to pinpoint the exact moment in which she screwed up her relationships. Sometimes we need tough love, and this memoir gives that, while still being funny and reminding us that we can laugh at our past relationship mistakes.
To say that Amy Webb was over online dating would be an understatement: The beginning of Data, A Love Story finds Webb on the brink of deleting her JDate profile for good. But before she pulls the trigger, she has a revelation: Maybe she’s doing online dating all wrong. Webb vows to focus on data and more effectively evaluate the available information in choosing a prospective date. In doing so, Webb learns a lot, and meets her future husband. This memoir is about falling in love as much as it is about taking matters into your own hands. It’s an empowering and ultimately hopeful read.
When Glenda Burgess met Kenneth Grunzweig, there were a lot of reasons for her to doubt the future of their relationship: He was 14 years her senior and he had been a prime suspect in his second wife’s murder, for starters. Still, the age difference and the suspicion didn’t deter her: Burgess fell head over heels for him, and the two built a life together and had two children. Tragically, Grunzweig would die of cancer within a few weeks of Burgess’s mother succumbing to the same. The Geography of Love is a tender and candid account of love, and of love’s complicated relationship to loss.
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