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Split: A Memoir of Divorce

Split: A Memoir of Divorce

4.0 2
by Suzanne Finnamore

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?Not only funny, it's also fully triumphant...a heartbreaking pleasure to read.?(Elle)

Suzanne Finnamore didn't see it coming. Well, she saw some things?for example, a cocktail napkin on which her husband had scribbled a Cole Porter love song and an indecipherable name?but she refused to acknowledge it. She was busy tending to their son and


?Not only funny, it's also fully triumphant...a heartbreaking pleasure to read.?(Elle)

Suzanne Finnamore didn't see it coming. Well, she saw some things?for example, a cocktail napkin on which her husband had scribbled a Cole Porter love song and an indecipherable name?but she refused to acknowledge it. She was busy tending to their son and creating the perfect home. Until the night it all imploded. ?I deserve happiness,? he said, which apparently translated into ousting her from his life. At once funny, sad, and unflinchingly fierce, this memoir will resonate with anyone who has endured the end of a relationship, and come out on the other side changed.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

California journalist and author Finnamore (The Zygote Chronicles) renders a sharp, cut-to-the-quick account of her painful divorce after five years of marriage. Living in the canyons of tony Marin County with her marketing v-p husband, N, and their toddler son she calls A, the author is devastated by N's announcement that he wants a divorce-and yet she is not surprised. In brief, astute chapters riddled with a dry, deadpan humor, the author reconstructs this surreal journey from giddy romance with a suave older man (she is 40, while he is in his 50s), through motherhood and the dawning suspicions of his infidelity, to his abandonment and denial that he is involved with someone else. Finnamore enlists various characters to see her through her crisis, which spans denial and anger, grief and acceptance: her jaded, long remarried mother, Bunny, who brings the pain-killers and stocks the house with junk food; her no-nonsense diminutive friend Lisa, who remarks upon hearing the news of the divorce, "You have no idea how I have longed for this day"; and her vehemently antimarriage childhood buddy Christian. Eschewing a divorce lawyer, Finnamore manages to come through with the help of her friends and conveys in this frank, winning memoir her supreme vulnerability and bravery. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Finnamore, already an accomplished novelist (see her best-selling Otherwise Engagedand The Zygote Chronicles, a 2002 Washington PostBest Book of the Year), here easily makes the transition to creative nonfiction. She presents a treatise on an important subject in family relations-divorce, specifically, her own-describing how she learned of her ex-husband's infidelity, realized he wasn't the right man for her, struggled as a single mother, and came to terms with losing her status as a "happily married woman." Progressing through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of death and dying-denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and acceptance-she expertly creates scenes spiced with dialog to convey her emotions. One memorable moment depicts Finnamore sharpening knives by her kitchen sink as she introduces the section on anger. Good reading; recommended for public libraries.
—Dorris Douglass

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Sold by:
Penguin Group
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File size:
367 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Suzanne Finnamore is a bestselling author.

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Split: A Memoir of Divorce 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It' s incredibly difficult to be funny while telling a heartbreaking story, but Finnamore absolutely pulls it off. Every page crackles with wit and intelligence. Anyone who is going through a divorce owes it to herself to read this book and discover how to come out the other side of the experience stronger and with her sense of humor intact. If you don't like this book, seek professional help. Every page is an undiluted joy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book soon after a devastating&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 betrayal. Split got to the universal core of&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 a universal situation. I can't help but think&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 all the negative reviews are from agents of&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 the 'other side of the story'. It must be painful to have to confront the truth of what happens when you break up a family.&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is just what every woman (or man) who is going through a divorce, betrayal, breakup, or who knows someone who is, should read. It doesn't pull any punches, you get an inside look at the roller coaster of a real life death of a marriage. The bright side is you also get to watch the rebirth of her new life as a strong, divorced woman and loving single mother. With laughter, tears and wonderful insights, what a great read! I'd like to thank the author for being brave enough to share her personal and often painful story with all of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bravo to this brilliant author for her best work yet. I laughed, cried and raged along with her---this author makes you feel as though you are a trusted confidante and she is baring her soul to you. The damage and grief endured during the discovery of the cheating spouse and the ensuing divorce are described with dead on accuracy and with strong doses of this author's wit and charm. I highly recommend this book to anyone--- married, single or divorcing/divorced.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finnamore has written an incredibly brave, honest, and gutwrenching memoir about divorce. She gets at the heart of what it's really like to grapple with unfathomable loss and come out on the other side as okay as you can be. As Finnamore tunnels through the stages of grief (with wit and guts) she takes us all along on her journey. She's just a sensational writer--and for her to share all this with readers is an amazing and lucky gift.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Finnamore has accomplished more than a memoir, she has poignantly, intelligently, and honestly described the holocaust of a man leaving his wife and small toddler. That he left for another woman who was pregnant with his child makes me marvel that Finnamore didn't put cyanide in his coffee. And yet, Finnamore is kind to this abortion of a man and she does the greatest act - she never forgets that she is a mother and, by the way, a great mother. Underneath the humor, pain, and angst Finnamore has not turned her back on love or forgiveness. A great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've always been a fan of this brilliant writer. I think she is s wonderful writer who just tells itlike it is and yet provides inspiration for the others. Highly recommended!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Refreshing! This book is 'making the rounds' among my divorced girlfriends here in Chicago and I have to say, I loved it! While my own divorce was extremely painful and 'no laughing matter' and I think divorce is very sad, especially when there are children involved (as there is in this memoir), sometimes laughter is the best medicine! And Suzanne Finamore has such a unique and riotous perspective -I just really enjoyed it. A couple of my friends (and me too) were expecting a different sort of book - maybe something 'funny' but also 'healing' I suppose. Well, I was just really taken aback by the almost savage humor -I would laugh out loud and then feel slightly guilty, like I shouldn't be! If you are looking for a serious, reflective memoir about divorce, I wouldn't say this is the book for you. But I will say that this is more fun than that book would be. A hoot and a half! I am 'a mother and a store owner.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Suzanne Finnamore was 40, her husband came home one night, drank a couple martinis, told her she was beautiful and said, 'I deserve happiness.' Then he said 'Good-bye, darling' and walked out, leaving Finnamore crouching on the floor of the entryway to their house, and their toddler son sleeping downstairs. In her funny, furious and elegantly crafted memoir, Split, Finnamore takes brutally precise inventory of the toxic fallout of a failed marriage: the murderous rage, inappropriate lust, and general wretchedness. Anyone who has been through a shattering divorce, or even just watched one, will appreciate the candor and wit with which Finnamore describes the experience. Finnamore, the author of novels about courtship and motherhood, was not entirely surprised by 'N''s departure. For years, she had endured N's vague dissatisfaction, not to mention the abruptly terminated cell phone calls and the volume of Zen poetry that turned up, lovingly inscribed in a female hand. When she asked questions, he accused her of being more a prison warden than a wife. One of Finnamore's first reactions his departure - after reciting the Lord's Prayer, calling her mother, and drinking a tumbler of mandarin flavored vodka - was a disorienting giddiness. Alas, this was just the first nauseating dip on an emotional roller coaster ride she records in chilling detail. She tries to win N back, then wishes him dead. She wishes herself dead, then concludes that she's too angry to die. She misses the homey rituals they shared, seduces him for a quickie, then feels contempt for this 'Tall, crooked man with a leer'. Equally unpredictable are her friends' reactions. 'Doll, you have no idea how I have longed for this day', one declares, while another (unwisely) takes her hand and coos, 'You need to let it go.' Her mother, Bunny, arrives bearing a fifth of Jack Daniels and a half gallon of butter pecan ice cream. She has her own, unwelcome, thoughts on the split. 'I'm sixty-six years old,' Bunny says. 'And if your husband isn't having an affair, well. I'd be very surprised.' Bunny - whom Finnamore writes about with affection and awe - turns out to be correct, as Finnamore learns when her son returns from a trip to the zoo with N and a lovely young woman. The confirmation of N's betrayal inspires a fresh eruption of mingled grief and fury that make divorce so exquisitely painful. As Finnamore laments to her mother: 'Can't I just please have one consistent feeling about this person?' Bunny, as usual, knows best: 'You'd be the first.' B+
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got a hold of a gallery copy through a friend. Rarely does a writer pull off something highly entertaining and readable, but textured with spikes of poignancy and actual relevance in a way that every reader can relate to, whether divorced or not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got my hands on an advance copy of this memoir and it is just spectacular. This books tells divorce as it truly is, in all its dreadful spectacular glory. A courageous and funny book, and so very well written. I'm buying it for all of my friends - male and female. who hasn't been through a split?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to read this book, having gone through a difficult divorce of my own, and having read the positive reviews here. But I am only a little more than halfway through, and I am forcing my way through it, just because I don't like to leave books unfinished. I have never read any of Suzanne Finnamore's work before, and although she certainly is talented in her writing style, I am just not finding this book all that "entertaining" and "fun to read," as others have said. I can appreciate the process she went through, and I can appreciate her honesty, but I find the book tedious and depressing. I just read the part where she spent $4,000 on trinkets to make herself feel better, and I have to say, no matter how difficult matters were for me as I went through my divorce, I would never have spent money (or credit) like that so foolishly, being a single Mom with two young children to care for. I give her credit for writing such an "honest" and personal book, but it's just not my cup of tea.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ute0307 More than 1 year ago
It was a fun story to read. Great for anyone who goes through divorce. I love how Suzanne writes. Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In her Anger section (Stage II) she says, "The snag about marriage is, it isn't worth the divorce. My new doctrine is, never marry. I won't ever again. It is absolute swill. It's not just my marriage. It's all marriages except a handful. Marriage is a conspiracy from Tiffany's, florists, the diamond industry, and Christian fundamentalists. The only thing good about it is the diamond ring, the wedding gifts, and the honeymoon. A, (the name she gives her son in the book) I could have gotten anywhere. I could have gotten A from a turkey baster and a lovely gay man with a college education and a pleasant disposition. IF ONLY I'D HAD THAT MUCH SENSE AT THE TIME. I'm sending turkey basters to all my single girlfriends, with holly tassels, for Christmas."

In Bargaining (Stage III) she says, "Sorry is the two-dollar bill of words. It's worth something, but in the end it's ridiculous, a souvenir at best."

Section IV: Grief, she says, "Grief, I understand with icy clarity, is simply information I allow myself to know."

And she says this, when wondering what she might say to her son one day when he asks about divorce: "I will say: 'You enter into - well. You enter into a kind of madness. You will make discoveries, not all of them happy. And the surprises are not staggered or regularly spaced, they are coming at you at light-speed, all at once, and you have to continue. You don't get to stop and say, I'll pick this all up in a year or so, when it isn't so difficult or painful or scary. When I'm ready. No no no. You have to go back in daily, until. Until it passes, or something happens to lessen its dark brilliance. you never know when this will be. You just have to keep meeting it. And gradually it disperses, leaving a small tear in your heart. A little hole, an aperture in you, as in a camera lens which, in the right light, can be perceived and accepted as a perspective-enhancing hole.'"

You don't have to be divorced, almost divorced, thinking about divorce, or even know someone getting divorced, to appreciate this book - it's about grief. And aren't we all grieving something, or someone? Or both?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised this husband didn't leave this obese ridiculous woman years before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This woman is so self absorbed to think that her divorce is the average is insulting to the many women who come out of physically and emotionally abusive marriages with barely the shirts off their backs. Maybe the author should volunteer at a woman's shelter and get a dose of reality and cut the poor me me me song. A waste of my time and money and she certainly doesn't need my hard earned cash!