A Manual for Heartache: Favourite Quotes


I adored this book. Reading it has helped me in a number of ways, it’s probably the most help I’ve ever got from a book under the genre of ‘self-help’. The best thing for me to do is to tell you to read it. My list of favourite quotes will not do justice to the book, but it will give you an idea of the kind of thoughts that are expressed in it.

As always, these quotes are selected because they connected with me personally. You might get a whole other set of quotes from it, but for now, here are the snippets that contributed to helping me, and the words that I’ll re-visit again when I need to.

If you fancy it, read my full review first. Then: READ THE BOOK.

All quotes copyright of Cathy Rentzenbrink.

“The grenade moment. Life has been trundling along and then, bang, with no warning, it explodes. Something makes your soul cry out, whacks you in the stomach with an iron bar, makes you feel that some outside agency has reached a fist into you, unfurling angry fingers and tearing your heart from your body. Life has changed forever; perhaps it has now become unlivable.”

Page 20

“That’s what the grenade moment does. It separates the old life from the new and there will forever be a divide. The blade has come down. Life as we knew it has been detached, truncated. What lies on the other side is both unknowable and unthinkable.”

Page 21

“It’s quite something to realize that you can have power and influence over your own thoughts and moods.”

Page 86

“Religions, all of them, are coping strategies. They’re people trying to find explanations, rationalize their existences, deal with pain, and work out how to live.”

Page 101

“I get stuck in this a lot – a sudden panic that the thing I fear most has happened but I haven’t yet been notified.”

Pages 119-20

“This is a legacy of trauma: we spend so much time anticipating a new horror that we destroy the present.”

Page 122

“Comparison, competition and envy are the three evils. It’s human to feel them, but it’s far better to focus on your own actions. Worry less about the things you can’t do and enjoy the things you can.”

Page 128

“Curiosity is a wonderful quality and you don’t have to understand everything or have all the answers to enjoy exploring life and ideas.”

Page 128

I’m really grateful to this book and the messages within it. I hope you enjoyed these quotes, and if you haven’t read the book, I’m going to say it again: READ IT.

Read my other posts in the ‘Favourite Quotes’ series:

A Little Life: Favourite Quotes

How to Stop Time: Favourite Quotes

How Proust Can Change Your Life: Favourite Quotes


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