Book Review | The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

the divorce papers

This book was challenging for me.  It was the first time I’d ever read an epistolary book.  Though the format is tedious, the plot was well carried out throughout the many pages of correspondence between a lawyer, named Sophie Diehl and the many people she interacts with.  If you’ve never read epistolary format, it is not typical paragraphs with dialogue.  A story is essentially told through the pages of emails, forms, handwritten notes, etc.

Sophie, our main character, works at a law firm in a small town and acquired a divorce case when another partner in the firm was out of town. Sophie’s specialty was criminal law, so the divorce case intimidated her. She tried to withdraw numerous times in spite of her boss’s insistence. The defendant, Mia Durkheim, connected with Sophie during the intake and requested that she represent her against her wealthy cardiologist husband who is having an affair.  Once Sophie was retained, the partner who was out of town, returned and fought to acquire the divorce case since she was more equipped.  The battle between the two women is well documented in the book.

Since Sophie lacked experience and was uncomfortable with putting together the necessary legal forms for this case, she leaned on her firms’ managing partner, David Greaves, through memorandums and emails to direct her steps.  Sophie came across very juvenile and indecisive in her thought process, as evidenced by her lengthy emails which include EVERY thought she has.  She couldn’t seem to make any decision on her own, and was constantly emailing her friend Maggie for insight/advice.  I found that to be annoying at times, but managed to understand why later in the book when she explained her home life and parents’ divorce.  Since she had lived through a divorce as a child, she was constantly uncertain and second-guessing herself.  It was a big reason for her fear in handling the Durkheim case.

There are a few plot twists in the book and moments of putting a hand over your mouth in shock which leverage my higher rating, however I feel that the book could have accomplished more, had it been written in the traditional style.  The numerous legal documents (which are part of divorce proceedings in reality) are incredibly boring and take away the pleasure of reading.  I am not a lawyer, so I tend to not want to read legal jargon and proposals.  However, for law students, or those who like a good book about legal cases, this is a read for you.  Just be prepared to read through documents as you would in reality.  I’ll admit I skipped a few.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Crown Publishing Group’s book review bloggers program (http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/).  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard

Book cover

As a woman who is new to women’s ministry and just recently began teaching a class on the biblical view of forgiveness using Dr. David Stoop’s book, “Forgiving the Unforgivable”, it made perfect sense to review a book on this topic as well to incorporate into my lesson plans.  The payoff was more than I realized initially.  The more I read, the more I realized that not only did I need to share this material, but I needed to pray about applying it in my own life.

The book is written by two women, Leslie Fields, a wife and mother of six who struggled with her relationship with her biological father, and Dr. Jill Hubbard, who is a clinical psychologist and co-host of the New Life Live radio program.  Leslie shares bold testimony of her encounters and forgiveness stages with her father.  As if reading her deeply wounded personal account isn’t enough evidence of the need to forgive, she shares snippets of other peoples’ family issues and how they were or were not resolved.  Getting a glimpse into how other people view wounds and what they do with them, is proof of a universal need to give grace and forgiveness, which can be achieved humanly, however is not complete without Jesus.  Dr. Hubbard’s additional insights lead you into ten questions at the end of each chapter, to deepen your understanding of what the chapter material was and Scripture readings for application.

As I read and processed the questions, stories, testimonies, and outcomes, I realized this book should be in the pew rack along with our hymnals.  Though Scripture talks about forgiveness, and our churches address this area, many of us do not apply the mandate to our parents.  Leslie realizes this and explains in chapter eight that “…forgiveness requires remembrance.  We cannot confess and name what was done without memory.  Neither can we extinguish what happened in the past by simply pretending or denying it away.” (page 162).  The need to face the past, our perception of it, and grieve the memory is essential.

The biblical mandate from Jesus is that forgiveness is immediate.  We are not giving permission to hurt, but releasing the offender “from our hook and placing them on God’s hook.”  God will work out the details.  The justice for our injustice is His to claim.  I’ve learned over time that the step of obedience in this area, leads to peace from Jesus that calms the soul beyond comprehension.  Leslie and Jill confirm this truth, and invite you to read their stories.

Are you ready to take the next step in seeing the grace of God work in your life?  Pick up a copy of this book, grab a highlighter and your Bible and spend some time alone with God.  Your time will be greatly rewarded and you will not be disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com) book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”