DAUGHTERS OF DIVORCE by Deidre S. Laiken

DAUGHTERS OF DIVORCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A bitter and sorrowful portrayal of divorce's effects on the daughters who, Laiken affirms, Find the actual divorce even more painful than the battles preceding it. The child of a divorce herself (she was the prize in a custody battle that landed her, at 16, with her father), Laiken interviewed 30 middle-class women, ages 21 to 38, whose traumatic experiences with divorced parents provide quotes to support Laiken's points. First: that money becomes magnified because all the issues--even custody--have dollar tags (child support, etc.); the aftermath, moreover, frequently involves a reduced standard of living. Second, and more obvious: that insecurity, slowness to trust, and symbiotic attachment--usually to the mother--are a daughter's legacy from divorce. (Father-daughter relationships, meanwhile, inevitably take on an aura of ""longing and loss."") Finally, and most poignantly, most of these women claim to have married primarily out of their early needs and losses, in ""an attempt. . . to rewrite an unhappy story with a different, happier ending."" In many cases, the power struggles of the parents even reached out to embrace the daughter's wedding day. Laiken tells her story bit by bit, through recreating scenes: her father pacing nervously as he awaits a girlfriend who's stood him up; Laiken expressing her custody preference to a hard-nosed judge, without benefit of the legal representation her parents enjoyed. More fragmented, and ultimately less affecting, than Julie Autumn List's The Day the Loving Stopped (1980), this nevertheless has some disturbing points to make.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow