A middle-aged woman’s life comes undone with the revelation that her marriage is over.
As boring wives go, Diane Delaunais is not so much. A woman with a taste for stylish boots, she is also not shy about confronting those who upset her, from a finicky neighbor to a busybody secretary spreading lies. Nevertheless, 48-year-old Diane is a familiar figure—the long-serving partner who, after 25 years of marriage and three children, suddenly finds herself replaced by a younger model. Now, with her husband Jacques’ revelation that her solid life was in fact built on foolish assumptions, she’s taking a more sardonic view of marriage vows. Maybe they should be rewritten: “I solemnly swear to love you, blah blah blah, until I stop loving you. Or until I fall for someone else.” Quebec novelist Lavoie (Mister Roger and Me, 2010) brings a bracing, comic edge to this well-worn storyline but doesn’t avoid the predictabilities of the genre. Propped up by a therapist, her children, and her BFF Claudine (another abandoned wife), Diane goes through a recognizable range of emotions—numbness, grief, anger, acceptance. She buys new running gear and gets drunk a few times. She has a flirtation with an attractive work colleague, takes a crowbar to the furniture, adopts a three-legged cat, and makes some surprising new acquaintances. Among the ups and downs and comic set pieces, Diane must mark the major milestones of a forsaken woman’s life: reassessing the past and making the best of the future. Lavoie keeps her novel short, offering chaotic humor and snappy observation to balance the pain and loss. Diane will emerge from her crisis, spirited, open-hearted, and among friends. She will survive.
A readable, recognizable, tragicomic account of coping with domestic disaster.