Book Review: The D-Word: Divorce Through A Child’s Eyes
The Seed of Every Catastrophe
Divorce is often thought of as an “out there” kind of experience. Not only does it shatter the image of the so called “normal” home, it is obvious to everyone. There is no hiding or covering up. What isn’t seen or readily understood, even by those going through this experience – or witnessing it closely – is the underlying turmoil for every person involved, interested onlookers included.
Every person responds emotionally to divorce whether their connection is immediate or distant. The point made in this fictional narrative is that what counts most is how those emotions are managed. Divorce doesn’t need to be a wrecking ball.
In The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes, the author, Tara Eisenhard, does a great job of exposing the underside of an ugly divorce. She takes us on a one year divorce journey through the eyes, or maybe I should say heart, of a preteen girl, Gina. Although Gina is the main character she isn’t alone. The author manages to illustrate a complex range of emotions stemming from a badly managed divorce and everyone makes a contribution: The divorcing couple, female siblings, male siblings, younger and older siblings, friends of siblings who’ve experienced divorce and those who haven’t, friends of the divorcing couple, aunts, uncles, grandparents on both sides and even step relatives.
It is through Gina that readers will be sad, happy, angry and eventually relieved but all the other characters help fill out the picture.
It’s all there. Parents becoming emotionally dependent on children. Grandparents who wish well but whose input only hurts. Friends who encourage rather than alleviate the friction. Children absorbing the blame and the responsibility.
Though the characters and the story line are fictional, their experiences are true to everyday life. Everyone can identify with one or more characters.
The book isn’t academic. The author doesn’t bore us with the usual list of divorce stats and studies ad nauseam. Instead it’s visceral and brilliantly portrays the heart and soul of divorce, both the bad and the good. It’s fast paced but not a blur. It hurts to read but is helpful. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down.
Thankfully, the author doesn’t moralize over the divorce issue and is, therefore, in a good position to make her point: Divorce doesn’t have to be the emotionally crippling, soul destroying experience it’s made out to be. Kids don’t have to be caught in the middle. Those getting divorced along with their friends and family don’t have to take sides and vilify one another. To use Tara’s word, instead of dissolving homes and destroying lives, divorce can produce an “evolution” of sorts, a rising above, a learning to be big, for every individual involved.
I recommend the book to any interested party. Those going through divorce, those supporting those going through divorce and those looking for a better way to resolve the problems. As I child of divorced parents, I found the book encouraging after the fact.