Review: The Divorce Papers: A Novel

The Divorce Papers: A Novel The Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If this is a true depiction of divorce proceedings, I sympathize with anyone who’s endured it.  The gloves are off in this War of the Roses type rundown of a divorce case told in the epistolary form from its inception to its conclusion. The entire divorce is described through letters, emails, memos and other legal documentation. I found the epistolary form quite interesting and rather enjoyed this method of storytelling. Although divorce is a sobering topic, I appreciated being educated in what’s involved in the actual handling of a divorce; the seemingly endless amount of paperwork and research, the volatile confrontations between spouses, the invasion of privacy.  Parts of it became a bit tedious at times, all the paperwork, but nevertheless it was informative and well constructed. Here’s a glimpse of what The Divorce Papers was all about…. Sophie Diehl, An associate for the firm Traynor, Hand, Wyzanski, and inexperienced in matrimonial law, has been assigned to handle a divorce case for a major client’s daughter, to the dismay of one of the experienced partners, Fiona McGregor. Fiona, having been passed over for the assignment, and chastised for her opinion against Sophies’ handling the case, has daggers for Sophie. Already insecure about her lack of expertise, Sophie struggles to find her place despite these adversities. Add to this her inner struggles that resulted from her own parents’ divorce, Sophie feels overwhelmed.  To regain her balance she regularly corresponds with her best friend Maggie where she gains solace from her words of wisdom and encouragement. Sophie hasn’t been successful at love either, and she vents her frustrations about this part of her life to Maggie as well. The conversation between the two friends, which recurs throughout the book, adds a nice touch to the story. The divorce itself takes place between Dr. Daniel Durkheim and Maria “Mia” Mather Meiklejohn Durkheim. They have one child together, Jane, a pre-adolescent, who has been so affected by the divorce that she requires a psychiatric evaluation. Her father is a pediatric oncologist and immerses himself in his work with gravely ill children, and hardly spends time with his daughter. He makes Jane feel as though it should suffice that she’s not sick. As a consequence Jane feels almost as though her dad is justified in neglecting her needs. Although she loves and respects her father she’s also petrified of the thought of having to live with him after the divorce. Jane is a highly intelligent young girl who your heart goes out to because of the emotional and psychological implications she suffers from the impending dissolution of the marriage. Jane’s mother, Mia, loves her daughter dearly and wants the best for her. She’s a pistol who behaves inappropriately at times, but who has a redeeming quality that endears you to her.  She’s an intelligent woman who is very capable of handling things on her own, and I admired her strength.  There are other characters who play a significant role in the book, including Sophie’s parents and Mia’s father. There was great depth to the characters, and almost all of them had a story to tell. I enjoyed learning about each one. The Divorce Papers is a very grown-up book. Not merely because of the verbiage and subject matter, but also because of the intellect of the characters; doctors, lawyers, professors—all professionals.  Their conversations reflected their station in life, admittedly at times leaving me bewildered and unable to grasp some of the intended sarcasm, irony or jest. I am, after all, of average intelligence at best. Nevertheless, this book resonated with me and I found it very intellectually stimulating. There were tender moments and some very emotionally charged moments, but given the subject matter, I anticipated that. I have to rate this book for what it was intended to be, a divorce proceeding summed up in various types of correspondence, which I feel that it nicely accomplished.  5 stars!! I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review which I have provided.

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