Contemporary Fiction

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

by Ed Tarkington

Quick take

Like The Wonder Years or A Christmas Story, Tarkington's ability to shine a retrospective light on the painful awkwardness of childhood is masterful and entertaining.

Why I love it

Neil Young's hit 1970s song about love, loneliness and heartbreak lends its title to this wonderful coming-of-age novel. It's the perfect namesake for Ed Tarkington's story about all kinds of love, and learning that the things you think you understand when you are a child, may not have been what they seemed at the time.

1977: The narrator, an eight-year-old boy named Rocky, lives in a small Virgin...

Member thoughts

35% Love
52% Like
8% Dislike
  • Kristen V.

    Denver, CO

    "Couldn't put it down! Very well written and captivating"

  • Alaina R.

    Detroit, MI

    "This book starts off slow, but you fall in love with the characters. "

  • Jessica L.

    Los angeles, CA

    "One of my favorite books of the year. "

  • Heather P.

    San Diego, CA

    "The characters in this book are so real! They made this book an absolute page turner."

  • Penny M.

    Lusby, MD

    "Beautiful character novel"

  • Cristine D.

    Brockton , AL

    " I love books that when you really look, there is a deeper meaning. That touch on true human emotions, Tarkington has spun a tale that will connect with everyone at some level. "

  • Caitlyn J.

    Holliston, MA

    "A lot of intersecting story lines that can be almost overwhelming but it only means the novel is even more enticing. "

  • Liz M.

    Bentonville, AR

    "Thought provoking, beautiful coming of age novel. I have now lent it to all my book loving friends. If you've ever dealt with lost love, lost relationships, it's a must read. "

  • Stephanie A.

    Bradford , PA

    "Great story, but had a hard time keeping me engaged. Some boring, slow spots in the book. But overall loved it!"

  • Sara A.

    Pueblo, CO

    "Good story about life and it's struggles.."

  • Jill R.

    Woodbury, MN