The Way They Were: Dealing with Your Parents’ Divorce After a Lifetime of Marriage

Foster, Brooke Lea. The Way They Were: Dealing with Your Parents’ Divorce After a Lifetime of Marriage. Three Rivers: Crown. Jan. 2006. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 1-4000-8210-2. pap. $14.95. CHILD REARING

A staff writer for the Washingtonian, Foster wastes an opportunity to address the divorce of an adult’s parents constructively; instead, she offers up excessive whining and stir-absorption seated in her difficult experiences with her own parents’ divorce. Though in her late twenties at the time of the book’s writing, she still identifies herself as a child: “I realized how much I still leaned on my parents emotionally…. I wasn’t as independent as I thought.” With this mindset, Foster cannot make a distinction between the institutions of marriage and parenthood, which results in a grating inability to recognize parents as human beings with evolving needs. Foster’s thoughtlessness compounds the issue: parental splits are equated with death or detecting a lump in one’s breast; drained inheritances and lost college money count among a list of hurts. What remains is verbose, bitter grief and banal observation, (e.g., “Listening to our parents’ problems can be draining”). Not recommended. Stick with Constance Ahrons’s We’re Still Family: What Grown Children Have To Say About Their Parents’ Divorce or Stephanie Staal’s The Love They Lost: Living with the Legacy of Our Parents’ Divorce.

This review appeared in Library Journal 130.18 on November 1, 2005 (p.106); the galley was shredded on September 8, 2012.

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