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Falling Apart In One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce

I’m one of the many women who have been through divorce so I picked up Stacy Morrison’s memoir Falling Apart in One Piece, about her divorce, with interest. Because few of my friends and family members have experienced divorce, it’s been one long lonely road for me. How do people deal with the guilt? I’ve wondered. How do they stop worrying about their ex—even after they’ve fallen in love with somebody else?

Less literary and more chatty-confessional style—in vogue with the women’s magazines that Morrison has edited all these years (Mirabella and Marie Claire, for example, or, most recently, Redbook)—Morrison relates her tale like a woman sitting down over a cup of tea with a friend. Her story takes us to the heart of despair in the wake of divorce. Though Morrison’s husband didn’t abandon their son, he left her holding the bag for a house that was falling apart around her. Morrison soon realized that she was literally living a metaphor, the house a perfect symbol of her crumbling marriage.

What did I do wrong? Morrison wonders. How could I have believed in marriage, only to be fooled? How could marriage have been just the thing I needed, while my husband felt like it was sucking his soul dry? And, most importantly, How am I ever going to be a single mom? How am I going to afford it? How am I going to get rid of this damned house? Even as she takes a new job as Editor-in-Chief of Redbook Magazine, Morrison wonders if she’s a fraud. Can she promote marriage and family when her own has disintegrated?

Through all her financial struggles, loneliness, self-doubt, and desolation, Morrison works hard not to become bitter or angry, so that she and her former husband can be good parents to their son. She comes through it with hope for the future and a new-found respect for her own abilities to make it through anything.

Falling Apart in One Piece is neither a literary masterpiece nor a self-help manual, but it is another genre somewhere in between those two—a personal story of heartache, loss, and hope, told honestly and thoughtfully. Definitely worth reading for those who have been through divorce and want to understand their own muddled emotions.

Written by: Jessica Powers, June 6th 2010

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