Book review of Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me
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Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me

Reviewed by Jeff Giles

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ll right, tough guy. Admit it – you’ve been dumped. Probably lots of times. From the dark-eyed beauty who broke your heart at the eighth grade dance to the self-medicating paralegal who wanted to start her own travel agency, you’ve been knocked on your ass by the fickle winds of the female heart more times than you care to remember.

Ah, but you do remember. We all do – well, those of us who haven’t yet gotten around to guzzling enough alcohol to burn off the memories, anyway – which is why “Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me” is such a work of genius: You’ve been dumped, but you probably haven’t learned from it, you dummy, and this book is therefore both entertaining and educational. Perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day, too!

Within this slender volume you will find a series of ruminations – some essays, some cartoons, and what is presumably a fictional short story – about not only being on the losing end of a breakup, but what kernels of wisdom the authors have taken from said breakups. To divulge too much here would be unfair, but here are some sample chapter titles to give you an idea: “Beware of Math Tutors Who Ride Motorcycles.” “Keep Some Secret Admirers Secret.” “Being Awkward Can Be a Prophylactic Against Dry Humping.” “Don’t Come on Your Cat.”

You get the idea.

The all-star lineup assembled for this project might seem fantastical at first – contributors include Stephen Colbert, Andy Richter, Patton Oswalt, Nick Hornby, and Neal Pollack – but where Ben Karlin goes, funny people inevitably follow. This is the man about whom no less a humor authority than New Yorkmagazineonce gushed, “If you’ve laughed in the last 10 years, Ben Karlin was responsible.” Ridiculous praise? Perhaps, but when you go from editing The Onion to a gig as executive producer of “The Daily Show,” it might actually bear the ring of truth.

Okay, okay. Strictly speaking, perhaps you won’t actually learn much from this book – but unless you’ve avoided all contact with the opposite sex (real or imagined) since the onset of puberty, you’re bound to see a little of yourself in these stories. And whether you’re suffering through a dry spell, nursing a freshly broken heart, or thanking your lucky stars you’re no longer in the dating pool, you should find yourself laughing at that self at least once per page – which is a pretty solid average, actually; at $23.99 list, you’re getting at least 221 laughs for the low, low price of…well, it’s somewhere around 11 cents a laugh. The exact numbers don’t matter. The point is, it’s about time someone wrote this book. Pick up a copy for yourself while you’re out buying some ridiculously priced Valentine’s Day trinket for the woman in your life, or cursing women in general because you don’t have one to buy anything for. It’s a book for all occasions, really.

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