From heartbreak to hardcover: Must-read books by divorced women

From heartbreak to hardcover: Must-read books by divorced women

Someone’s divorce is the awkward topic no one wants to bring up, but everyone's dying to know about. Besides family law attorneys, who better to dish out divorce dirt than the queens of heartbreak themselves — women authors.

Whether you're going through a split, thinking about one, or just love a good breakup story, these literary ladies have got you covered. Delve into the messiness, hilarity, and maybe even the occasional silver lining of divorce, as told by these women who triumphed over divorce.

The “interminable divorce” that became a best-selling-book-turned-Hollywood blockbuster

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”

Whoever said divorce was a downer clearly didn't read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. This memoir-turned-best-seller-turned-movie has sold over 12 million copies and earned a star-studded on-screen adaptation. Gilbert documents her "interminable divorce" and subsequent journey to find fulfillment, all while tapping into a cultural norm that suggests marriage can inhibit personal growth.

Gilbert is ultimately only one of the countless authors who have explored the same themes of self-exploration and breaking free from societal constraints. Beyond that, her memoir is undeniably a perfect lighthearted companion while on a trip to, say, Italy, India, and Indonesia.

Some pages of a so-called dumb blonde’s divorce journal

"What a shame to find that which is or who is to blame, because in this world, deceit becomes a crippled heart’s cane."

In the early 2000s, Jessica Simpson was largely viewed as a dumb blonde, and this was only partly due to her fondness for wearing Daisy Dukes. She was mercilessly mocked for being too sexy at the height of her career and even long after she was already out of the spotlight. In her memoir Open Book, Simpson talks about these and being the subject of people’s casual cruelty.

While Simpson’s memoir isn’t only about her divorce, the things she wrote about her split from ex Nick Lachey were fairly revealing. She wrote about keeping a divorce journal where she mused about her separation from her ex-husband, at times writing a letter to him.

Simpson worked with a ghostwriter to write her memoir, but don’t let that put you off — as The New Yorker noted, Simpson’s “flair for language is apparent.” Those who are going through a divorce might find some catharsis in reading Simpson’s somewhat relatable journal entries about heartbreak.

The trials and tribulations of love in the public eye

“Because we had brought a third party into our relationship, Ashton said that blurred the lines and, to some extent, justified what he’d done. I felt sick to my stomach.”

In her memoir Inside Out, Demi Moore spilled the beans about her whirlwind romance and marriage to actor Ashton Kutcher, which became a hot topic for the tabloids due to their age gap. Moore also revealed that Kutcher's persistent desire for threesomes with other women played a big part in their eventual split. Who knew Hollywood could be so scandalous?

She also imparts some wise words about the potential harm of indulging a very young partner’s propensity for third-party playmates. Snarkiness aside, Moore’s book isn’t your average ghostwritten fluff. It’s an insightful peek into her life as an A-list star, the difficulties she faced as an aging woman in Hollywood, and more.

Related reading: Managing marital property: What certain celebrities did right

Life after splitting from one’s spouse is like sharp jigsaw puzzle pieces

“Recently my husband and I separated, and over the course of a few weeks the life that we’d made broke apart, like a jigsaw dismantled into a heap of broken-edged pieces.”

Unlike Moore and Simpson, Rachel Cusk writes books for a living, and she’s very good at it. In her memoir Aftermath, Cusk fearlessly tackles her divorce, examining it through the lens of her bitter experience. She remarkably likens her separation from her husband of 10 years to a jigsaw puzzle.

Cusk is at odds with people referring to her post-divorce situation as the new reality, “as though it might represent a kind of progress.” She does not like that phrase and seems to argue against it, saying, “ was in fact a regression: the gears of life had gone into reverse. All at once we were moving not forwards but backwards, back into chaos, into history and prehistory, back to the beginnings of things and then further back to the time before those things began. A plate falls to the floor: the new reality is that it is broken.”

Cusk masterfully explores the often complicated emotions that come with the end of a long-term relationship. Through her sharp observations and unflinching honesty, she forces us to confront our own preconceptions about love, marriage, and the complexities of modern relationships.

Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are the legal team to ask for book recommendations about divorce AND to consult for your family law case in Washington State. Call us today.