The most astonishing aspect of Stacy Morrison’s account of the end of her marriage in Falling Apart in One Piece is her willingness to unflinchingly examine her own complicity in its demise and to do so in front of a vast audience of potentially hostile strangers. Ultimately that brave and public self-examination is also the book’s greatest gift.
Listening to a book amplifies the already intimate experience of reading and here author also serves as narrator. There is an unrehearsed pain in Stacy’s voice as she recounts the night her husband Chris declared their 13-year-long marriage over with the simple but chilling phrase “I’m done”. There is no hiding from her authentic sorrow, the naked grief in her voice when she says: “I slid slowly down the cabinets until I was sitting on the kitchen floor and I cried for all the ways I had failed, and all the ways I did not know how to fix my life.” So, prepare yourself.
Stacy’s life is stamped with ambition. Her passion for her career in publishing is an indelible part of her personality and this narrative. You may recognize her as the most recent Editor in Chief of Redbook, the venerable 107-year-old women’s magazine. Or you might know of her first incarnation in that role at Modern Bride, a position she held at the very tender age of 29.
But those remarkable achievements can’t save her marriage, and nothing can change the fact that she now faces life as a single parent to their five-month-old son Zach. Stacy wonders out loud if her drive for success is the final wedge between her and Chris, “Reason #159”. Or is it her optimism and her generous love of people, a nature that sits in sharp contrast to his introverted and worrying one, that ultimately breaks them apart. She also asks, but never gets to know why, their recently purchased Brooklyn house begins to flood and then leak, along with her emotional life. Both marriage and house were seemingly intact when she had started on this particular leg of her journey.
We read memoirs for any number of reasons, including the hope that we’ll find insight into our own problems and possibly, solutions. Stacy reminds us that, “Divorce is such a personal experience,” even as she welcomes us into her bedroom and onto her kitchen floor. In this book I did not find a previously whole woman putting together the broken pieces, but instead a woman made whole for the first time: through the willingness to ask the hardest questions of, and ultimately grant forgiveness to, the most important person in her life herself. Lisa Duggan
Just when Stacy Morrison thought she had it all, her husband of 10 years announced that he wanted a divorce. She was left alone with a new house that needed lots of work, a new baby who needed lots of attention, and a new job in the high-pressure world of New York publishing. Morrison had never been one to believe in fairy tales. As far as she was concerned, happy endings were the product of the kind of ambition and hard work that had propelled her to the top of her profession. But she had always considered her relationship with her husband a safe place in her often stressful life.
All of her assumptions about how life works crumbled, though, when she discovered that no amount of will and determination was going to save her marriage. For Stacy, the only solution was to keep on living, and to listen - as deeply and openly as possible - to what this experience was teaching her.
Told with humor and heart, her honest and intimate account of the stress of being a working mother while trying to make sense of her unraveling marriage offers unexpected lessons of love, forgiveness, and dignity that will resonate with women everywhere.
©2010 Stacy Morrison (P)2010 Tantor
“[Morrison] presents her triumphant redefinition in fine form for editorial fodder.” (Publishers Weekly)
Your story is your story....that's the first thing I'd have to say to the author. I was not completely satisfied with your perspective, your ex husband choices, or all of your choices, but wholly respect that they were yours, and really appreciate the way you told your story and that it is your story. This book IS for everybody.....because it's just one person's story, and nothing about it bites the reader personally, which is important, because I imagine most readers taking an interest in this book are at some point in the process of the subject at hand, which is divorce. The last thing we need is to be bitten again, haven't we had enough for the moment?
I will more than likely lose my own husband to his addiction, but even so, some of the process will be the same for me as for the writer here, and as for anyone reading this book. What an eye opening experience it has been for me to go through the journey thus far. We are in our late 40s, and he used drugs in his early twenties. You cannot imagine my shock when I got the phone call from the bank that he was cashing checks out of my account and forging my signature to do so. At the point I found out, he had already tapped his own resources and was now into mine, and deep into his addiction. I was blindsided. At first, I had to learn about addiction, which was a wholly unknown in my own life, and then about my powerlessness to it. I was diagnosed November last year with something that brought me to my knees, and him along with. I suppose his way of coping with the sadness was to turn to an artificial happy place. At this point, I'm coping with my condition much better, but now he has one, and it's really bad.
The writer is right, there are many paths to this place, and I never imagined we'de get here, my husband and me. We've had such a great run together, and yet, now I have a lock on my closet door that requires a digital code, as I've been forced to protect myself from the one I love the most in this world. The fact that his compulsions are strong doesn't change the fact that he and I love each other, but slowly, over time, his allegiance has waned, and now I reside strongly in spot number 2 in his world. I've just made him move, as his issues have begun to affect my teenager and me too much, and they've been ongoing now for the better part of this whole year.
Stacy. She's smart, insightful, self reflective and reminds me of me. I have owned my business in the legal field for 24 years and so much of her personality fits with my own, naturally, and unforced.
Intimacy of her own story. Narrators are typically great for fiction novels, or non fiction novels presenting factual findings (objective or not). When it comes to matters of the heart, narrators can only help the listener feel as much as they have experienced or can guess the words might be expressing.
I gobbled it up over the course of two days. Gratefully, it's helped me make my way through a working weekend without feeling so slighted that I have to work over the weekend. Now what will I do????....my work is not done, lol.
It seems Stacy did some journaling throughout this experience. Perhaps I will be inspired to do the same? I feel like there isn't a lot out there for the men and women who have to deal with losing their marriages to addiction. Like Stacy, I am hungry to find resources that relate to where I am today, which is in a lot of pain. I don't want to wallow through it, but I certainly don't want to hear any more well intended advice, and don't have the energy to maintain the difficult "supportive" conversations from friends who call, but can't muster the energy to keep the conversation going, and expect me to be able to do that for us. Given those circumstances, a good book written about what it is that I need and want to think on is indispensable.
Not if it's read by the author.
Ms. Morrison had a huge support system, promising career, and was not financially devastated.... it was hard to listen to. "I had to fire my nanny, handed her an envelope stuffed with cash "... Are you kidding me? That said, I'd bet my experience would have been different with a proper narrater. The bland mono tone style of reading unfortunately kills the story.
It was like listening to a bored middle school student read aloud in class.
A brutal look at the unraveling of a marriage and the struggle to maintain sanity through the journey and keeping the child front and center.
a very candid personal account of writer's struggle through her personal valley of a broken marriage. wonderfully and insightfully written. even handed and fair. very touching and also uplifting. even though i do not share this personal experience, it helped me to understand better others who have traveled the road of divorce
I was really able to relate to this and it helped me to understand how I'm feeling in ways I hadn't realized before.
The honesty of it. And the fact Stacy didn't place blame.
No. I wanted it to last.
Although my divorce was 4 years ago, i wished I had heard this audio book then. She was able to verbalize things I experienced and thoughts so well. She would of eliminated a lot of undue analyzing because she put words to my pain. The healing is in addressing the pain and she does a great job making you face the different stages of a divorce. Although I related to her especially as a working woman and mother. I think this would be helpful for both men and women experiencing divorce for a variety of reasons. Happy Healing.
I loved this book. Anyone who has ever been through a divorce or has been close enough to witness a marriage mid-wreck knows that getting to the other side with any measure of grace remaining is damn near impossible. I approached this book with caution... but at no point did this book turn whiny, self-indulgent or pitiful. If you're looking for a train wreck, move on. There is no preaching or look-at-me here, just a story of love and loss and leaky basements. I love Stacy Morrison, I would like to tell her she did good. She came through with extraordinary grace, strength and self-awareness. I set down my earbuds knowing that there was some healing in telling her story, and who doesn't need more of that?
I did not connect with this author and am thinking that a female audience may be more receptive. Was looking for uplifting, and did not find it here.
I did not connect to this character and story, for the simple reason that the author/narrator's delivery was flat and unemotional and sounded like a canned script, or as though she was reading a grocery list. I don't usually like a lot of drama but this narration seemed weirdly disconnected to the story.
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