The Divorce Papers

The Divorce PapersThe Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger by Susan Rieger

A novel about a young attorney reluctantly handling her first divorce case (she’s a criminal defense attorney, and was roped into this one much to her dismay), and her divorcing client. Doesn’t sound like a light and cheerful read, does it? Maybe it helps knowing that it’s written in an epistolary format, letting the story unfold through over 400 pages of emails, memos, notes, letters, case law, newspaper clippings, even a psychologist’s report.

That’s probably not persuading you either, yet Rieger manages to convey the story in a light and breezy manner, and it ends up being a delightful peek into the events taking place. Sure, there are some aspects that aren’t cheerful (infidelity and marital fighting in particular), but overall the tone is still surprisingly enjoyable.

It may just be that I’m such a fan of epistolary novels, that I was looking for reasons to enjoy this one, but I don’t think it was completely due to my love for that format. I went into it expecting to just give it a chance, to see if the author could pull it off, and once I reached the halfway point there was no stopping – I ended up staying up way too late as I raced through to the end.

Recommended, although there is some bad language if you’re super sensitive to that. Plus the previously mentioned infidelity, and some other off-screen sex. None of that is detailed at all, so no worries about it being graphic.

Publisher’s Description:
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.

Book Details

Title: The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger
Author: Susan Rieger
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

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  1. Alison S. says:

    I keep seeing this book mentioned and liked by bloggers so I better read it. 😉 I’m married to a lawyer and find law interesting so I think I just might enjoy it.

    • If you know more about the law, it might end up frustrating you, depending on how many liberties the author took with the legal system / typical procedures. I don’t know enough about it for anything beyond the biggest of adaptations (or mistakes) to jump out at me! Sometimes that can be a definite advantage during reading. 🙂

  2. I just downloaded this one yesterday, but I never thought I’d see it show up here! Glad to hear you liked it. 🙂

    • I came *thisclose* to having Goodreads send it to you as a recommendation when I finished it – it seemed like one you might enjoy. 🙂

  3. I just finished this one! Did you read it as an ebook or on paper? I’m curious because I read the ebook, but I was bookstore browsing yesterday and checked out the hardback. The book worked much, much better as a hardback. I didn’t know what I was missing!

    • Paper, and yes – this is one where the paper version makes a difference! But did you like it anyway?

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