A divorced mother’s funny, chatty, revealing take on Splitsville—with just enough anguish and sadness to be utterly believable.
Nestor (Writing/Univ. of Washington) divides her memoir into the same three phases that mark the stages of coping with divorce. Shock and Denial are the subjects of Part One, the book’s longest. Here the author covers her family history (mother and grandmother were both divorced), her skepticism about marriage, her romance with and ultimate marriage to a younger man. Twelve years and two daughters later she discovered that he had secretly gambled away large sums of money, and the marriage ended abruptly. An unexpected treat here is a vivid portrait of the author’s thrice-married, utterly nonmaternal but generous mother. Forced to cope with the economic and social realities of single motherhood in Part Two, Adjustment, Nestor turned to an array of self-help books for divorcees, some of which get brief but helpful critiques here. An upcoming high-school reunion reconnected her with an old boyfriend and offered the possibility of falling in love again. In Part Three, Acceptance, we see the long-distance affair with the old boyfriend petering out. He made her feel loved at a time when she felt unlovable, but eventually she began to achieve some measure of contentment and stability on her own. Rats in the basement of her dilapidated old farmhouse prompted her to relocate to a snug new townhouse, a move that signaled the launching of a new life for her and for what she now thinks of as her “girlfamily.” Women going through the pain and turmoil of separation and divorce will appreciate Nestor’s candor and wit.
Not another slick how-to, but a comforting reminder that life goes on after the spouse is gone.