August 24, 2007


Writer Starlee Kine on what makes the perfect break-up song and whether really sad music can actually make you feel better. Plus, an eight-year-old author of a book about divorce, and other stories from the heart of heartbreak.

Anna Parini


Host Ira Glass talks with Lauren Waterman, who's in the middle of a break-up right now and grappling with totally contradictory feelings. She wants her boyfriend to call, but also—maybe a little bit—doesn't want him to call. She misses him and doesn't want to stop thinking about him...but also does all of this elaborate math to calculate the day she'll finally be over him. (5 minutes)
Act One

Dr. Phil

In the wake of a break-up, writer Starlee Kine finds so much comfort in break-up songs that she decides to try and write one herself—even though she has no musical ability whatsoever. For some help, she goes to a rather surprising expert on the subject: Phil Collins. (29 minutes)

Starlee was assisted in her efforts by musicians Joe McGinty and Julia Greenberg, who co-wrote the song featured in this story. Joe's album Kiss Me, Stupid with his band Baby Steps includes "This Song Is Three Days Old," also heard in Starlee's story. He is the co-author with Hally McGehean of the musical “Upping My Numbers.” Julia writes songs and composes musical theater in Brooklyn. For more stories by Starlee, check out her podcast Mystery Show

Act Two

But Why?

Eight-year-old Betsy Walter goes on a campaign to understand her parents' divorce. A campaign that takes her to school guidance counselors, children's book authors, and the mayor of New York City. (10 minutes)

The interview with Betsy first aired on NPR's All Things Considered—in 1987, when a young Ira Glass was a producer there.