A woman chronicles a painful divorce in this debut memoir.
Taylor remembers that she was driving on the interstate with her then-husband, Jim, when he suddenly announced, “I’m done with our marriage.” The couple had been facing tough challenges: Jim’s work had forced them to maintain a long-distance relationship for sustained periods, and his brother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, there were no clear indications that Jim would request a divorce. Indeed, the shock was so great that the author says that she felt that “all the oxygen seemed to escape from the vehicle.” When they first got married, she remembers, they used to wake each morning with smiles on their faces; they’d both been divorced before, so they were committed to making their marriage work. After settling together in Summerville, South Carolina, a chain of events, including leaving her job as a teacher, led to Taylor’s feeling isolated. She writes that Jim told her that she sometimes said “hurtful” things, particularly after overindulging in wine, but she felt that her actions didn’t warrant his description of her as “selfish” and “mean.” This memoir confronts the painful, debilitating nature of divorce and offers guidance on how to survive “unexpectedly starting over” at 60. The act of putting her story on paper appears to have been a major source of catharsis for the author; she says that she’d always wanted to be a writer and that her grief helped her to complete this book. Her prose is elegantly descriptive and effortlessly precise throughout, and she speaks tenderly and directly to her readers: “You, too, have the ability to regain your confidence, abandon your hopelessness, and realize that you are not a woman to be tossed aside and forgotten.” Taylor carefully explores her own rebuilding process, including time that she spent in therapy and the crucial support that she received from her friends. Her book may act as a lifeline for other women going through similar experiences, as it offers hope for newfound happiness.
Truthful, dignified, and pragmatic writing.