Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old-line New England firm, where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are trapped behind bars.  Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one week, with all the big partners out of town, Sophie is stuck handling the intake interview for the daughter of the firm's most important client.

After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly's.  Mia is now locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Mather Medical School, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter, Jane.  Mia also burns to take him down a peg.  Sophie warns Mia that she's never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can't be put off.  The ways she sees it, it's her first divorce, too.  For Sophie, the whole affair will spark a hard look at her own relationships - with her parents, colleagues, friends, lovers, and, most important, herself.

A rich, layered novel told entirely through personal correspondence, office memos, e-mails, articles, handwritten notes, and legal documents, The Divorce Papers offers a direct window into the lives of an entertaining cast of characters never shy about speaking their minds.  Original and captivating, Susan Reiger's brilliantly conceived and expertly crafted debut races along with wit, heartache, and exceptional comedic timing, as it explores the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails - as well as the ever-present risks and coveted rewards of that thing called love.

my thoughts:

I was looking forward to reading Rieger's book, The Divorce Papers.  I'd read that it was an epistolary novel, which I just love.  So, of course I expected there to be emails, letters, memos, depositions, articles, and various legal documents - legalese was to be included throughout the story.  After all, the premise was about an attorney handling her first divorce case.  What I didn't expect was that I would get tired of all the documents so fast.  I wanted a story to fall into, not a brief espousing the issues with divorce settlements and child custody laws.  If I had wanted to learn about the ins and outs of a divorce trial I would have asked my sister or best friends (they are all attorneys).  There was just too much documenting and not enough storytelling.  I was so disappointed.  I felt like the idea had potential, but the execution of it just fell flat.  In the end, I grew bored and wound up not finishing the book.  The Divorce Papers wound up being a DNF.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book.


bermudaonion said...

I'm not hearing great things about this book so I'll probably skip it.

Nadia said...

bermudaonion, skip it. Don't waste your time on it - so not worth it.

Bellezza said...

No wonder I haven't heard much about it since receiving it, and not reading it. I was feeling horribly guilty about the shelves of unread ARCs in my house, but now I'll just take a better approach than feeling guilty and read your reviews first. ;) you get books read so quickly! I'm most impressed, Nadia.

Nadia said...

Bellezza, thanks! For some reason lately, I've been on this crazy reading binge, where I'm getting through a book a day - with the except of Harry Quebert (which I'm loving). And, I know what you mean, my ARC pile was getting out of hand, which is why I decided to finally tackle it head on :) Definitely skip this book!

Bellezza said...

Hmm, just finished Harry Quebert which I loathed. We'll have to talk.