Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Books to comfort the post-divorce soul

What do I know about books that might help one cope with divorce? Very little (though adolescent males of any age may skip to the bottom of this post for my advice).

Elizabeth Buchan, a blurb writer for Penguin turned fiction editor at Random House turned best-selling author of Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman and other books, claims to know more about the subject. She shared with the Guardian "her top 10 books guaranteed to give comfort during the ending of a relationship."

I'm suspicious of the soothing qualties of a few of her titles--for example, The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars ("Concentrating on the twilight years before the Catholic church ruthlessly and bloodily extinguished the heresy, this accessible and deeply felt narrative by a professor of English traces the events of those last years in the Cathar strongholds up in the mountains of southern France.)--but, again, what do I know?

Then there's this suggestion:
Finally, of course, there is recourse to the enduring classic. Austen's Persuasion has to be the favourite. The opening chapters, which depict the lonely figure of Anne, the middle sister who has lost her bloom, struggling to live well at time when her future is precarious, have all the melancholy of lost hope and neglected chances. This is a novel in which the spectre of autumn hovers, but as the plot progresses, the spectre is chased away and Anne moves towards a late blossoming. As a young woman she was persuaded to turn down marriage to Captain Wentworth. Now, her good sense, her good qualities and her experience and intelligence persuade her otherwise. The Anne who emerges is hardly passive and she grasps her second chance with both hands. Woven into this portrait of a woman's renaissance is Jane Austen's deliciously acerbic observation, an uncharacteristic tenderness and a deal of sharp, brilliant social comedy. All in all, Persuasion is as irresistible, life affirming and nourishing as chicken soup--which, under the circumstances, is exactly what is needed.
To read about all ten Buchan recommendations, click here.

For heart-broken boys of all ages, see the Vince Vaughn-Jon Favreau movie Swingers.

It's (partly) about getting over a break-up, not a divorce. Yet, as "Trent" says, "There's nothing wrong with letting the girls know that you're money and that you want to party."

--Marshal Zeringue