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Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce

By Wendy Swallow

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ISBN 10: 0786885165
288 pages

“There are those who believe it is simple selfishness that leads people to divorce. For those of us who have lived it, it’s hard to see why anyone would rip out their veins for some immature or narcissistic desire to get what they want, because that is what it feels like.” –from Breaking Apart

Writing in a style that is both piercingly honest and profoundly moving. Wendy Swallow, in herĀ  gripping memoir of a divorce unfolding, traces the arc of her marriage to a complex man ten years her senior. She looks into her own heart and at her own childhood and young adulthood as a way of understanding the relationship and its ultimate breakdown. She also examines her struggle to balance her burgeoning career and the demands of motherhood.

And then she writes of divorce: the hopeful fantasies she conjured while still in her marriage, as well as the harsh realities she faced when she and her husband finally separated. “People say marriages break up,” writes Swallow, “but mine finally broke down.” With heartbreaking candor, Swallow illuminates the overwhelming financial and emotional stresses of divorce, the daily, unforeseen difficulties. But she writes too of the joys of independence and renewal. Her journey through divorce’s rough terrain — and the triumphant reconstruction of her life after divorce — offer encouragement and inspiration to anyone struggling with a marriage, as well as an electrifying literary portrait of what it is to relinquish the comfort and security of a long-held dream.


“Swallow is unremittingly honest about the trauma and difficulty of divorce . . . takes some of the mystery out of a common ritual in modern life.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“It’s a tribute both to Swallow’s honesty and powers of evocation . . . I admired Swallow’s thoughtful parsing of life.” —Newsday

“Swallow bravely tells . . . her courageous story, beautifully told [and] reveals that divorce takes as much work as marriage, and while it leaves scars, it can be made easier.” –Washington Post

“There are very few memoirs about the dissolution of a marriage . . . Swallow . . . fills this hole with style and grace.” —Library Journal

“This graceful and engrossing memoir of marriage, divorce and rebuilding a life will attract many women readers . . . [who] will warm to Swallow.” —Publishers Weekly


from Chapter 1

Divorce Fantasy

As a fantasy, divorce has a lot to recommend it. A good divorce fantasy can feel like an open window in a life otherwise shuttered in on itself. It can comfort a heart stinging from marital strife. It can be int

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Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce