Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Title: The Divorce Papers
Author: Susan Rieger
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Witty and wonderful, sparkling and sophisticated, this debut romantic comedy brilliantly tells the story of one very messy, very high-profile divorce, and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it. 
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 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.

My Review: 

In accordance to FTC guidelines, I must state that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

My God. This has got to be one of the most frustrating books I've attempted to read all year. It's literally that bad, so please, do not listen to the reviews done by professionals and other authors. Only read this book if you like reading a bunch of letters and emails about law and family court cases.

When I first saw the synopsis for The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger, I thought that it looked like it would a a great book. I quickly discovered that reading it was utterly agonizing.

If you're a lawyer, you'll probably love this book. Don't get me wrong... I used to want to be a lawyer because it seemed interesting. I even wanted to deal with family law.  The way that Rieger structures this novel just makes it so hard to read and understand. She also introduces a slew of characters within the first few pages of the novel that I had to make a chart just to keep track of all of them.

Also, I know the book is called The Divorce Papers, but there is just way too much focus on the actual divorce papers that I couldn't even stand to read it. The plot was truly interesting. I liked that it's about a high-profile divorce in a small town, but I just wanted to read about it in a different way. I felt like I was snooping instead of actually reading a book. I would have liked this book if it were written like a traditional novel. It would have been a lot better that way, especially if letters and emails were included to expand the story.

I was able to finish the first section of the book, which is all about the intake of a very important client, Mia, but I could not get more than a few pages into the second section of the book.


  1. Oh god.. Sounds horrible and I don't normally like saying that about books but.. This does sound boring. Glad you were honest enough, I think I'll give this one a miss.

    1. There were some parts that were really interesting, but mostly just when pieces of dialogue were actually included in the papers. Everything else about it was so impersonal.


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