An emblematic figure of the second wave of feminism, Andrea Dworkin is often misquoted and used as an example of an angry feminist. It is a huge injustice to her memory to laugh at her anger rather than try to understand where it came from.
Heartbreak is beautifully written, with cultural and literary references threaded throughout. Dworkin's style can be esoteric in her other books, but Heartbreak is easily digestible, with small chapters of a few pages each detailing an event or a time in her life. Heartbreak is not exactly an autobiography, with entire sections of her life omitted. She writes about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her first husband, but does not talk about how that marriage came to exist. She refers to being a prostitute, and writes with passion about her opposition to the trade, but does not sketch out her experiences to the reader.
While Heartbreak does not take long to read, it is not an easy book. It can be incredibly confronting in parts. She leads into the book with a few chapters on benign events in her life, such as learning to play the piano. However, sexual violence frequently makes an appearance, often when least expected- which is exactly true to life for many women.
Reading Heartbreak provides a context for the intensity of Dworkin's other works. She cannot be written off as too angry once you understand the complex reality of her life.