Tag Archives: Heartbroken: Field Notes on a Constant Condition

Interview with Author Laura Pratt

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I am a career writer. I’ve made my living as a journalist for almost thirty years. I would say, however, that I didn’t really find my voice until I started writing creative nonfiction.

What inspired you to write your book?

In 2018, I went to the University of King’s College in Halifax to start a two-year program in creative nonfiction. I earned my MFA in 2020. The graduate thesis for this program is in fact a book, which we work through with mentors over the course of two years. Ideally, you have your book finished in alignment with the program. I chose to write about heartbreak because it has been such a powerful experience in my life. My story, coupled with a range of more scholarly explorations into the phenomenon of this universal experience, seemed like juicy fodder for a creative nonfiction project.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think the biggest takeaway I envision for this book is that you’re OK. I’m OK. We’re all OK. If you’re reeling from heartbreak, you needn’t imagine you’re failing society or yourself or anyone at all for your failure to surface according to some perceived timetable. It’s OK to be reeling. It’s OK to hurt and yearn and struggle for a long time. I want people to stop judging themselves for not being OK, and to be kind to themselves in the face of their discomfort and despair. To realize, through my story, that it is entirely natural to hurt for a long time. They are not losers. They are only human.

What drew you into this particular genre?

Creative nonfiction is a natural fit for me. As a journalist, I am deeply concerned with the truth and feel strongly about holding my writing accountable to facts alone. But the *creative* aspect of this approach to writing was a wonderful discovery for me. Here, writers apply the tools and literary devices of creative writing (think: character development, scenes, detailed description, dialogue, etc.) to nonfiction. It elevates factual storytelling to a much more compelling and enjoyable place.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I have launched an Instagram account around this book, and am excited to see where this path takes me. It is my first experience on that platform and I’m hopeful for its reach in terms of attracting readers.

 What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Keep going. It’s hard to write a book. It takes tremendous stick-to-it-iveness and patience. It’s a lot of work and a lot of words. But you need only to take a stroll through a bookstore, electronic or brick-built, to come away encouraged by the number of people who have been able to pull off this enormous undertaking. Have faith in yourself. If all those folks could do it, why not you?

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

I make my living now as a book editor, but feel strongly that there are more memoirs on my near horizon. I am a mother to four kids who are all young adults now, and I am kicking around ideas for another memoir that delves into this stage of maternal life. But I am so consumed right now with giving “Heartbroken” the birth it deserves, that I don’t want to muddy the waters by thinking too much ahead. I have loved every minute of writing this book and am awfully excited at the prospect of getting it out into the world. Thank you for taking the time for this conversation!

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About the Author

LAURA PRATT is a long-time journalist, writer and editor. She writes for Canadian magazines and edits books. Her first memoir, The Fleeting Years, was published in 2004. She lives in Toronto with whichever of her kids and dogs she can corral to join her. She’s a 2020 graduate of the University of King’s College’s creative nonfiction MFA. She won an honourable mention in Prairie Fire’s 2020 CNF contest and was shortlisted for The Fiddlehead’s 2019 CNF contest. She has served as a judge at the National Magazine Awards for several years.

http://www.laurapratt.ca/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5K9DDQP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61389212-heartbroken%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DBFdCXa0sJJ%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Heartbroken: Field Notes on a Constant Condition by Laura Pratt Review

I received a free copy of this book In exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author and journalist Laura Pratt goes on a personal journey to understand the psychological and emotional impact of heartbreak and how it affects us all in her book “Heartbroken: Field Notes on a Constant Condition”.

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The Synopsis

In this definitive treatise on romantic loss, journalist Laura Pratt exposes the subject of heartbreak with a deep dive into the experience. Her reports chronicle her journey from grief to gratitude, and to perspective and meaning at last.

Heartbroken charts a hard terrain we all know–pocked with rejection, slick with sorrow–but it also offers some light and a map. And hope for arriving–changed, broadened, grateful–on the other side.

When Laura Pratt’s long-distance partner of six years tells her “it’s over” at a busy downtown train station, she is sent reeling, the breakup having come out of the blue. Her partner, meanwhile, closes himself off, refusing to acknowledge Laura and her requests for explanation.

In the following days, months, and then years, Laura struggles to make sense of this loss, alone and filled with questions. She mourns him and takes comfort in whatever reassurances she imagines the universe is sending her, and in identifying value for her ordeal under every rock she flips.

Here, Laura bares her soul as she brings alive the ups and downs of heartbreak–the recalled highs of when the relationship was in full, mutual bloom, and the long-time lows of her solitary vigil for Sam.

Seeking to understand this freefall and how so many before her survived it, she draws on forces across time and form and uncovers literary, philosophical, scientific, and psychological accounts of how we human beings fall in love in the first place, and why, when it ends, some of us take longer to get over it, or never do.

Effortlessly, Laura Pratt weaves this background of cultural history with her own bracing story of heartbreak and loss, and offers the heartbroken some solace in the common experience.

Imbued with Laura’s longing, erudition, and hard-earned wisdom, Heartbroken dares to delve into this most universal of mortal ordeals–perhaps the one that makes us the most human of all.

The Review

What struck me immediately upon reading this book was the profound sense of personal experience that somehow still felt all too relatable and engaging to the reader. The balance the author found in this memoir and relationship-driven book between her own personal heartbreak and the study of heartbreak, in general, was great to see. The pain and tragedy of the author’s experiences help to connect readers to the subject matter, as the emotions that influenced her mentality in those early days of the breakup showcased the power that a strong connection and its sudden loss can have, not unlike the sense of loss that comes with losing a loved one in life.

The artistry and almost poetic way the author wrote this book really became the heart of the story here. The insightful and free-flowing research into the subject and history of heartbreak, romance, and love as a whole in regard to the relationships we form was remarkable to watch unfold on the page, and looking at how history has shown the evolution of our thoughts and feelings on love as a people was incredible to read about. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, emotional, and memorable, author Laura Pratt’s “Heartbroken” is a must-read book of nonfiction memoir and relationship storytelling. The way the author is able to share how love and relationships can influence how we respond to and appreciate things like music and memories as a whole was great to see come to life in the author’s writing, and the cultural and historical research that went into the author’s exploration of her own heartbreak made this a truly compelling read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

LAURA PRATT is a long-time journalist, writer and editor. She writes for Canadian magazines and edits books. Her first memoir, The Fleeting Years, was published in 2004. She lives in Toronto with whichever of her kids and dogs she can corral to join her. She’s a 2020 graduate of the University of King’s College’s creative nonfiction MFA. She won an honourable mention in Prairie Fire’s 2020 CNF contest and was shortlisted for The Fiddlehead’s 2019 CNF contest. She has served as a judge at the National Magazine Awards for several years.

http://www.laurapratt.ca/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5K9DDQP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61389212-heartbroken%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DBFdCXa0sJJ%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20