The Down and Dirty Dish on Revenge by Eva Nagorski

A history of revenge and handbook for “serving it up nice and cold to that lying, cheating bastard.”

Breezy and snazzy, The Down and Dirty Dish on Revenge does a lot with what seems on the surface to be a thin premise. Eva Nagorski looks at revenge in literature, through history, and across different cultures, with almost a sociologist’s eye. She peppers the book with real-life anecdotes of revenge both creative and mean-spirited. And she closes the book with a chapter on the virtues of forgiveness as the best revenge of all.

A lot of the stories that Nagorski presents don’t seem to me to be revenge per se–more like justice, if you ask me! I love it when a cheater gets his or her comeuppance, particularly in the form of a creative divorce settlement, as in the woman who won all her husband’s baseball collectibles then sold them on Ebay. I’m less a fan of the people who make sex tapes public–though I suppose the people who make sex tapes to begin with should know the risk involved.

Christian theology teaches forgiveness because even righteous anger can quickly turn sinful, and because only God can enact true justice. However, I do think it is possible to teach someone a hard lesson, if your aim is to bring them to repentance. Revenge may feel good at the time, but it will never be as satisfying as true forgiveness.

3 thoughts on “The Down and Dirty Dish on Revenge by Eva Nagorski”

  1. I read about this study one time that suggested revenge gives you serotonin. For some reason! So reading a book like this is probably very good for your mood. 🙂

  2. That’s so funny Eva! 

    My firsthand experience of YOU, was as an overly flirtatious, somewhat tempestuous and ‘predatory female’. The distraction you ‘set in motion’ lead to many other distractions… Our a 7.5 yr relationship became untenable and our much hoped for and mutually planned, little baby boy was abandoned by his father. 

Whilst you like to flirt, have fun, look sexy and be adored – and are actively encouraged to do so by our culture and our society (men!), there are partners, wives, mothers and children that get despised, bullied, hated, hurt, lost and abandoned… 

I remember vividly sending you an impassioned email, asking to stay away from my partner. You had invited him to dinner to meet your parents, obviously I was out of your ambitious equation. Sometimes even so called ’emotional affairs’ are far more damaging and deadly than real ones. 

I look at my little boy and I am happy, he is worth everything… all the pain, hurt and trauma of my ex’s juvenile distractions- mostly desperate, insecure and lonely women, needing constant attention and affirmation.

I know you will delete this, the past is easy to erase for some!


In arguments about you we used to call you ‘Nagasaki’, as in the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki… He used to call you Nagasaki Bomb! 

Mission accomplished! (although some time back now…) He can be all yours, now and forever… to have and to drop.

; )

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