Thursday, 13 March 2014

Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

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 eighteen 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 ten-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.

Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Expected publication: March 18th 2014 by Crown 
Kristine's Thoughts:
* I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*
This book is written in the form of emails, legal documents, and letters. It is an interesting way to tell a story but unfortunately some of the documents are difficult to read and understand in that format. There are a lot of legal documents that can be a bit monotonous if you don't enjoy or understand the legal system. I found myself skimming quite a few of these. Also it is a bit confusing in the beginning until you get to know the characters in the story.

If you can get through the beginning and all the documents there is a story that is quite good at times within the papers. I did enjoy the characters but I found that I had to work hard to get to them and the story. The books title is most definitely a good title because the book is in fact a bunch of divorce papers.

The Divorce Papers is a unique and interesting book that can be enjoyed with a little bit of effort if you are a fan of the epistolary style.


About the Author
Susan Rieger is a graduate of Columbia University Law School. She is also a former Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at Columbia University. The Divorce Papers is her debut novel.


  1. I saw this book on Edelweiss but I wasn't too sure about it since I prefer books told through traditional narrative, and prefer documents or postcards to just be chapter in-betweeners. But the story of this one sounds interesting enough so I may check it out. Great review!

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

  2. I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Check out the details here.