Maybe you were inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s post-divorce mission to find herself (and, incidentally, a hot new boyfriend) in Eat, Pray, Love, her 2006 memoir chronicling her “search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia.” Maybe it turned you into a spiteful, hungry atheist. Doesn’t matter: Not only did her book sell millions of copies, but its film adaptation opened last Friday starring none other than Julia Roberts.
Why do we want to know, and why do they want to tell? We hit up other divorce memoir writers — there were, maybe not surprisingly, plenty to choose from — for answers.
It’s good for a couple of laughs
For Sascha Rothchild, finding the humor in her divorce helped her and also led to her book, How to Get Divorced by 30. Universal scooped up the film rights and she’s happy to show the more light-hearted side of what plenty of couples go through: “You don’t have to go find yourself in Italy,” she says. “In the ’40s and ’50s, there were all these fantastic, funny divorce movies: His Girl Friday, The Awful Truth. It’s weird — now it has to be this sad, horrible thing.”
Most people need practical advice
Although Jessica Bram calls Gilbert an “amazing writer,” it didn’t resonate with her experience as a mother of three who had long been out of the dating pool and work. Her book, Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey speaks to those who don’t have a year to go on vacation. “Most people have more things to worry about,”?she says. “This is the book I wish I had when I was going through my divorce.”
Every story is different
Stacy Morrison decided to write Falling Apart in One Piece after being surrounded by women at cocktail parties who were curious about her divorce — and it wasn’t exactly a simple story to tell. “The goal was to say ‘Here’s what it looks like,’” she says. “I think it’s funny, and more than a little f—ed up, that we always think there’s a rat bastard.”