RECKLESS YEARS by Heather Chaplin


A Diary of Love and Madness
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Diary entries from a woman who left her marriage and husband for a freer existence.

Chaplin’s epistolary memoir, extracted from two years of recovered emails and journals she’d kept beginning in 2006, chronicles the dramatic, adventurous, and heartbreaking story of a restless married woman who’d fallen out of love with her husband of 13 years. The author opens with frustration and resentment at her “stoner” spouse, Josh, a formerly athletic Southern California surfer who remained glued to his video games while she wrote about her unhappiness in a secret daybook “to stave off going mad.” The author found catharsis through the “calming logic of language.” Desperate to abandon the rage-filled man she’d known since she was 20, the author eventually separated from him and moved to Dublin to meet her brother, Seth, who was touring with a rock band. In Dublin, Chaplin’s single life bloomed. Excited about the new world her separation inspired, the author writes feverishly of make-out sessions in the streets and of her passionate relationship with sexy Irish lad Kieran. Yet she felt like a “husk” when Josh called, on Christmas Eve, to ask for advice on a new relationship he’d begun with another woman in Los Angeles. Though the gears of this memoir grind a bit too erratically and self-consciously at times, Chaplin voices her intimate thoughts and emotions consistently and urgently enough to capture readers’ attention as well as their sympathy when the author’s free-for-all single life begins to sour. Memories of former happiness with Josh haunted her, and a serious bout of depression followed a spontaneously messy return to Ireland in an attempt to make miracles happen with the philandering Kieran. This a breezy, compelling slice of reality, as Chaplin openly shares her trials with a “freedom and exaltation such as I’d never known, as well as darkness that threatened to bury me.”

A restless yet satisfying memoir that will appeal most to women who’ve found themselves fleeing hopeless relationships.

Pub Date: July 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5011-3499-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2017


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