Why, exactly, do we feel so shattered when someone we love leaves us? What is the science behind the physical changes we experience during heartbreak, such as weight loss and anxiety, and why do so many of us stop behaving rationally? In this episode of Book Dreams, we talk with acclaimed science writer Florence Williams about her latest book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, in which she explores questions like these within the framework of a heartbreak of her own and its aftermath. In her conversation with Julie and Eve, Florence discusses the brain science behind our responses to this kind of loss; the potential impact of loneliness and feelings of abandonment on our immune systems; why some of us bounce back from heartbreak faster than others; what advice she gives to everyone struggling to recover from heartbreak; and so much more.
Florence Williams is a journalist, podcaster, and the author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology, and was named a notable book by The New York Times. She's also the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, and many other outlets, and she's a contributing editor at Outside Magazine.
Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
"[Readers] will learn as much from Williams’s intellectual rigor as from her fearlessness in surviving a broken heart."
― Sebastian Modak, New York Times Book Review
"In Heartbreak [Williams] reprises [the] determined, deep-dive reporting [of The Nature Fix], this time seeking the same healing for her shattered self... This is one of the joys of reading a gifted science journalist: You learn so much stuff without having to study it yourself... [A] wise and brave book."
― Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, Washington Post
"A masterful blend of investigative reporting and personal narrative, chock-full of fascinating insights, gorgeous nature writing and an ample helping of compassion (some of which Williams deservedly reserves for herself)."
― Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle
Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, by Florence Williams