“Turkey Drop” is a cute name for a devastating phenomenon: Every year at Thanksgiving, countless couples call it quits. Whether it’s two high school sweethearts who have gone off to different colleges and found all those other fish in the sea, or a couple that’s simply not willing to deal with one another’s family through the holiday season, heartbreak is as common to Thanksgiving as canned cranberry sauce. Whether you’re the one doing the dumping or the one getting dumped, splitting up can be heart-wrenching. Fortunately, these books by relationship experts will guide you through every phase of a break-up, no matter which end of the Turkey Drop you’re on.
For the heartbreaker:
Mira Kirschenbaum’s Too Good to Leave, Too Bad To Stay is the perfect book for potential Turkey Droppers who are on the fence about ending things. Zeroing in on problem areas such as sex and communication, she helps readers tally up the pros and cons of their relationship and decide which move is best for them.
2. Dump ‘Em
Speyer’s book combines example break-up scripts and testimonials from celebrities such as Bob Harper (The Biggest Loser) and Michael Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, in a comprehensive guide to ending any kind of relationship. Turkey Drops, after all, don’t have to be limited to romantic relationships: If over the holiday you plan to break it off with a friend or acquaintance, the book–which includes advice on ending things with everyone from your therapist to your personal trainer—is the one for you.
If you’ve already done the deed, or you need more encouragement before you do, Judy Ford’s book about the joys of being single is perfect for you. Casting aside popular notions about singledom—namely, that it’s not as fulfilling as being in a relationship, or that all single people are actively looking for a partner—she breaks down the surprising advantages of flying solo.
For the hearbroken:
Sincere as it may be me, the line “It’s not you, it’s me” almost never works: We tend to take breakups personally, as blows to our character and self-esteem. Lisa Steadman addresses precisely this reaction in her book It’s a Breakup, Not a Breakdown, which offers advice on organizing your emotions in the wake of a break-up and learning how to (eventually) move on.
Howard Bronson’s book offers firm but sympathetic tips for getting back to normal in the first few weeks after the end of a relationship. If you want to be back on your feet by the New Year (ideally with a new revenge squeeze to show off), this is the book for you.
As with most negative emotional experiences, the silver lining of being dumped is that it can endow you with a depth, wisdom and degree of self-awareness you didn’t have before. Cheryl Strayed’s collection of advice columns (which originally appeared on The Rumpus) contains numerous pieces on the process of breaking up and healing. It’s exactly the book you’ll want to keep on hand during the inevitable period of self-examination that follows heartbreak.