I’m one of those people who turns into an obsessive reader when I’m going through something unfamiliar. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I read everything I could find on pregnancy and parenthood. I read so much that, by the time I hit my third trimester, my OB/GYN told me to stop reading pregnancy books and start reading lighter material to counterbalance all the heavy stuff that was stressing me out.
When I started heading down the road toward divorce, I naturally reached out for reading material. (And my OB/GYN would be pleased to know that I still follow his advice and add some humor to the rotation.)
Here are my…
Top 10 Books That Helped Me Get Through Divorce
10. “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron
dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you
can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”
separation agreement. This novel was my way of dipping a toe into the
overwhelming pool of books about divorce. I wasn’t quite ready to jump into the
self-help books that would force me to dissect feelings and motivations and
behaviors. I simply wanted a glimpse of what I was getting myself into with a
twinge of humor. And no one does the heartbreak and humor dance better than
9. “The Five Love Languages of Children” by Gary
Chapman and Ross Campbell
they cope with their parents’ divorce.
Time, which comes mainly in the form of undivided attention during
conversations. Although most of our chats these days revolve around Minecraft
and Clash of Clans rather than the divorce, I know he feels most loved when he
knows I’m truly listening to what he has to say. And I know that my ability to
fill his emotional tank in that way makes him feel safe to talk to me about
more serious topics.
She needs hugs and hand-holding and cuddling to get her emotional needs met.
That knowledge was important during all the divorce-related transitions,
especially because a child her age has difficulty verbalizing thoughts and
feelings. She may not have understood why mommy was moving out of daddy’s
house, but cuddling during a movie went a long way in making her feel better.
8. “Seriously, I’m Kidding” by Ellen DeGeneres
friends, I was thrilled to find care packages on my doorstep to help keep my
spirits up. Bubble bath, nail polish, sweet treats, DVDs to make me laugh or to
help me cry it out. And this hilarious book.
me laugh so hard I had to put the book down and compose myself. I didn’t think
I could find a book to top the laugh-out-loud quotient of Bridget Jones, but
Ellen did it. (Just ask the poor dude who sat next to me on the airplane when I
was reading this during a business trip. I eventually abandoned my attempts to
stifle my giggles. I’m sure he was thankful he brought headphones.)
7. “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin
this book shortly after I moved into my apartment, and it helped build my
excitement to decorate my new home in ways that would reflect my new life. I
learned to “see things with fresh eyes” and to remember that life doesn’t stop,
that “now is now.”
6. “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James
wait for the movie to hit theaters.
5. “Are you There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea” by
I needed some comic relief.
4. “Moving On” by Russell Friedman and John W.
rather than retention of the resentment. You are the only one who suffers when
you don’t forgive.”
separation. I ordered it immediately and sat it on my nightstand when it
arrived. And that book sat there on my nightstand unopened for almost a year.
and advice for moving on after a divorce. It’s a journey through past
relationships, analyses of patterns in partner choices and brutal honesty about
your own role in the destruction of those relationships. It was therapeutic and
enlightening as I revisited relationships back to age 14 and uncovered what I
thought I wanted, what I was actually getting, and what I ultimately want, need
what mistakes not to make in the future, it also helped me recognize sources of
anger I didn’t even know I had and taught me the importance of forgiveness.
(I’m not fully there on the forgiveness part yet, but I’m getting there.)
3. “Not A Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters” by Brian Donovan
can’t tell if the author’s stories made me realize my experience wasn’t so bad
or if he scared me into never wanting to try it ever again. Either way it made
2. “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery” by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Patty Hansen
I’ve learned, doesn’t have to be an oxymoron). A few of my faves include:
meant to be. I went on a journey, deep into my soul and met the me who I had left
behind so many years ago.”
learned how to get past the rough spots and remain focused on the happier times
fact, I was better than okay. I was beginning a new phase of life, and I could
look at it as scary or I could look at it as an adventure.”
1. “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” by
learned to list.
And I skimmed through “Assholes: A Theory” by Aaron James, which offered very
useful suggestions for “asshole management.”)