THIS JUST IN FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:

Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts Edited by Michael Taeckens. Plume, $16 paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-452-29550-6

Breakups are hard to forget, and this collection—surprisingly restrained yet full of emotion—is equally memorable. Patty Van Norman’s two-frame graphic story “Dear Ugly, Dear Fatso” (other graphic entries are from Lynda Barry and Emily Flake) resonates like a quick punch to the solar plexus. Josh Kilmer-Purcell writes of the lover who could only perform with Wonder Woman on the television. George Singleton urinates a bellyful of beer into his ex’s kitty litter box. Maud Newton tells of a sex- and rage-filled relationship, wondering: “was he the abusive one, or was I?” Taeckens, publicity director at Algonquin Books, anthologizes modern heartbreak in stories replete with contemporary commentaries (e.g., using Match.com to express a new relationship status). In a book full of hits, Amanda Stern’s “Scout’s Honor,” about camping in the Washington Cascades, stands out. The collection’s material could make one feel a bit voyeuristic, but throughout this tender book one instead feels like a privileged confidant. (July 28)

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