The Breakup Starter Pack

An emergency kit for anyone going through a breakup, from comically tragic essays on heartbreak, to an incredible This American life on breakups, and how they turn you into a walking cliche of feelings. By Karley Sciortino.

I’ve recently been working my way through this This American Life archives—20 years of the show and it’s difficult to find a bad episode. Today, in my mid-holiday slob state, I came across an episode about breakups. Listening to people talk about heartbreak led me to think about my own breakups and how I’ve dealt with them, and I ended up going back and reading an essay I wrote for Vogue a handful of years ago, when I was in the midst of a meltdown after being dumped. Wow. All I could think was, “I’m so glad I’m not going through that right now.”

Breakups are universal—everyone goes through one at some point—but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Since I’m currently not going through a breakup, and am somewhat clearheaded, I thought I’d make this emergency breakup kit for anyone who’s beginning 2017 in lost-love-induced agony. Hopefully this will help you through the inevitable darkness :)

1. This American Life: “Break Up”


Such a good episode. Writer Starlee Kine investigates what makes the perfect break-up song and whether really sad music can actually make you feel better (with the help of Phil Collins). Plus, an eight-year-old author of a book about divorce, and other stories from the heart of heartbreak. Listen HERE (FYI I had to click the “launch player” button for it to play, for some reason.)

 2. Breathless: “I Was Dumped Two Months Ago and I’m Still Heartbroken”

My essay for Vogue from 2014, when I was going through my first real, major heartbreak. Reading it now, I still can’t help but feel sorry for my former self. The desperation is palpable. Read it HERE.


3. Comedian David Cross on how breakups make you super fucking annoying

The hysterically funny, but also very sad and real, ramblings about the tragicness of breakups, by the ever-lol comedian David Cross.

4. Essay: “The Boundaries of a Breakup”


A very funny essay by Charles H. Antin from the New York Times in 2009, about the trouble with staying Facebook friends with an ex. Read it HERE.

5. And lastly, of course, Annie Hall


The most quintessential breakup movie of all time. Necessary even if you haven’t recently been left sad and alone.



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