A divorce mediator shares her observations and insights on couples’ struggles in this debut memoir.
Larsen has a long history of helping couples navigate the tumultuous road of separation; she’s been an attorney for 50 years, and a professional mediator for half that time. This insightful collection of case studies portrays the many challenges that come with saying goodbye to a relationship. Along the way, Larsen describes the most common interpersonal dynamics that she witnessed in her mediating career, and discusses whether they helped the couple heal or perpetuated their bitterness and hostility. Communication, blame, trust, and forgiveness are just a few of the many topics that these narratives address, as each chapter offers a detailed, real-life example from Larsen’s mediation work. Some chapters expound on certain subjects, such as negotiations and expectations, and how they play roles in divorce proceedings. The subject matter isn’t always cheerful, but it does provide surprising moments of clarity and insight, which will encourage further reflection. It doesn’t gloss over the painful realities of loss and moving on with one’s life; there are examples of couples who held onto anger instead of letting it go, and of others who more quickly found middle ground. Larsen also compellingly shares her own experience of grief and healing after her husband’s passing: “as the first anniversary of his death approached, my steps slowed, my throat tightened, and my quiet times became more somber.” Overall, her writing style is intimate yet conversational, as if she’s taking readers into her private confidence. Although the book is largely serious in tone, it also includes refreshing moments of humor that help to occasionally lighten the narrative.
An emotional, thought-provoking read about the fragility of relationships.