Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

18142403Twenty-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 behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle 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. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she 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. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

Debut novelist Susan Rieger doesn’t leave a word out of place in this hilarious and expertly crafted debut that shines with the power and pleasure of storytelling. Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself. Much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Divorce Papers will have you laughing aloud and thanking the literature gods for this incredible, fresh new voice in fiction.

Find it on Goodreads. (Woa! That’s a new link. My reviews are getting fancy now, aren’t they?)

Buy it on Amazon.

Borrow it on Camellia.

Search it on Google. (Okay, now I’ll admit I’m just having too much fun with these links. No really, press that link. It’s special.)

Annnyways, My Thoughts:

The Divorce Papers was a book that immediately interested me and I was so excited to find out it was on Camellia! It was the first book I started on the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon… annnnd… yeah. Here I am, reviewing it two weeks later. Needless to say, it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

Mostly, Cole and I just had fun with the title.

Me: *Going to renew our car tags* Cole, I’m going to the Court House once this downloads to my kindle.

Cole: What is it?

Me: The Divorce Papers.

Cole: You’re going where with what?!

The fun continues at work!

Cole: Danni, Missy won’t believe you’re reading The Divorce Papers!

Me: It’s true, Missy. I’m currently in the middle of The Divorce Papers.

Missy: I don’t believe it! You two are so good together!

Rebecca: Aren’t you two not even married yet?

Me: I like to be prepared like that.

And finally..

Cole: Weren’t you going grocery shopping?

Me: I’ll leave and be out of your hair the second I finish The Divorce Papers.

Cole: I’ll go with you!

Me: Uhh.. that’s not really how divorce works.

Cole: Divorce? I thought we were talking about a book all this time.

Needless to say, we had fun with this one. Which is maybe why it took me so long to read. But that could also be due to the fact that it was so…. legal…y..

As both the title and synopsis state, The Divorce Papers is written with… you guessed it.. Divorce Papers. That means a lot of legal court verbatim and TONS of numbers. This, I suppose, was meant to make it more realistic, but to me it was just a lot of skimming hoobery joobery. The only real writing you get in The Divorce Papers was the emails sent to and from Sophie, the main character. I liked her fine enough, and the people she knew, but there was just one thing that bugged me about her: everyone loved her. 

I’m never going to tell someone who they can and can’t love, but having a damsel-in-distress but also somehow “shark” of a lawyer with a million lovers just doesn’t cut it for me. Throughout the course of the book, there were only two people that didn’t like Sophie (and you’d know if there were more; she seems to be the type of person that needs to be loved and would whine about it in an email if someone showed distaste for her): Kahn, the opposing lawyer who’s considered a scumbag by everyone and then gets suspended because how can someone who doesn’t love Sophie not be a bad businessman? And Fiona, who- reasonably- disagrees with Sophie, a criminal lawyer, working on a divorce case and then has everyone jump down her throat to save poor Sophie from criticism.  Shark lawyers are fragile things, don’t-cha-know.

So no.. That didn’t float my boat.

But other than that, I did like all of the characters in The Divorce Papers, particularly the client’s daughter, Jane. (Who seems too smart for an eleven year old but now I’m just nitpicking.) Overall, it wasn’t a completely entertaining read but it did have some very thoughtful points and I would recommend it to anyone going through a divorce as a semi-interesting way to learn about the shiz they’re about to get into.

Three Stars

Three Stars



3 thoughts on “Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

  1. Pingback: Armchair BEA Introductions! | Danni Mae

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