Witty and wonderful, sparkling and sophisticated, this debut romantic comedy brilliantly tells the story of one very messy, very high-profile divorce, and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.
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 18 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 10-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.
©2014 Susan Rieger (P)2014 Random House Audio
"With a sharp take on the dissolution of a high-profile marriage, Rieger's hilarious debut is sure to be a must-read for the summer - if you can wait that long." (EW.com)
"Clever and funny.... Lovers of the epistolary style will find much to appreciate. Rieger's tone, textured structure, and lively voice make this debut a winner." (Publishers Weekly)
"A brutally comic chronicle of high-end divorce....Extremely clever." (Kirkus)
It wouldn’t necessarily be a problem to transform an epistolary novel into an audio book, but this particular novel has a lot of drawbacks for audio. If you want to hear specific telephone numbers, addresses, zip codes, and office jargon read over and over with seriousness, it might work for you.
Even worse, the novel depends heavily upon the presentation of financial accounting, so you get to hear the SAME sets of numbers read out in detail several times in succession, and then hear them again slightly altered, and repeated, later on. This goes on throughout the book. If you were reading with your eyes, you would get the point at once, and move on. You would not carefully read over each line of each document once you realized (which you certainly would) that the numbers and verbiage in each repeated document are the same. The author can't be faulted for this, since the book was certainly written to be seen on the page, not listened to. Whether it actually rises to the level of "novel" on the page, I can't say.
An unrelated problem is an insufferably self-involved central character. I realize that this is supposed to be part of the point of the novel, but our poor protagonist is such a collection of predictable clichés as to be sort of sad. This is one of those novels where we’re expected to believe that our hero is so spectacularly brilliant that all opposition fades in the light of her talent, but of the talent we never see evidence.
Listening to this audiobook felt way too much like work. Maybe, as was suggested in another review, it was better as an actual book where your eyes could skim over all the lists and cc addressees. Although the plot was kind of a tedious after awhile, the writing itself was snappy and smart--I may have another run at it later.
Difficult to follow, particularly on audio. Thought about returning it. Waste of my time.
Maybe.depends on story format.
Narrator does good job
Too many other good books out there. Pick something else. Giffen, kinsella, Grisham , Connolly, Andrews....
Hard to follow via an audio book. The book is comprised of a series of emails, faxes, newspaper articles, studies. Makes for a confusing listen to.
It was difficult to connect with the characters through the letter writing platform. I'm not sure how it could have been improved.
I enjoyed the narrators for the most part, but just lost interest in the story itself.
I laughed a couple of times.
The book is certainly written in a different style, one letter, memorandum, email, divorce code at a time to unfold a wonderful story. I enjoyed the story, the different style was a delightful change to the usual and worked perfectly with the multi-dimensional story line. Having the different performers was genius and matched the style. I look forward to more books from Susan Rieger.
I usually hate books told by reading letters and other documents BUT after the first few documents were read, this captured my attention and held it. It is told from both the lawyers perspective as she learns how to handle a civil case and a divorce, and the from that of the woman who's husband is dumping her. Having gone through a divorce, I found it very true to life, with all the craziness and, and yes, humor that goes into to trying to hammer out an agreement. In the end, her husband dumps the smarmy law firm and finds someone decent to represent him, and all ends on a high note. That is the only thing that didn't ring true. More often than not, decency does not prevail, bt it made for a happy ending so I guess it works.
I liked the different way of telling the story through emails, memos and legal documents. There were some laugh out loud moments and I enjoyed slowly getting to know the main characters through their correspondence. There were some spots where I wished I was reading the printed version and able to skim the legal writings. But, overall I really enjoyed this listen.
I love Rebecca Lowman and the way she can deliver a line. I think she might be my favorite narrator. The other narrators were also great.
As an attorney, a single/divorced mother, a child of divorced parents and an attorney, I related to this book. Also, the self-deprecating humor was just what I needed! Great "fluff" when you want something more substantial than commercial fluff.
"repetitive and dull"
Somebody who enjoys the tedium of having the same things said to them over and over again
A bit less whiney.
I would cut the bulk of the addresses. The caracters weren't too bad and the story would be more enjoyable without the constant irritation caused by having the same thing said for the umpteenth time.
Plus it would be a good deal shorter and while I usually avoid abridged fiction l was willing the tedium to end.
This is one audiobook to avoid!
If the book appeals I would suggest using a paper or digital print format.
That way you would never read every word of every address on every letter.
As an audiobook it simply does not work.
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