Book 12: Split by Suzanne Finnamore

January 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm (Review) (, , , , , , )

I was perfectly ready to hate this and before starting to read it I was composing my scathing review. I was looking forward to it. It has a bride and groom wedding cake decoration split in two on the cover. This was going to be some Oprah, self help, woman finding herself after her man leaves her memoir and I was going to be mean. It turns out that they have that saying about judging book covers for a reason.  

Split is a fairly brutal account of the break up of Susan Finnamore’s marriage. It is in no way pretending to be a unbiased account. It is all about how she felt and how she choose to deal with it. It’s also about how she went to pieces. I admire how brutally honest this book appears to be. While the split was the husband’s decision she doesn’t step away from her culpability or excuse herself for some pretty poor behaviour in the course of the split. 

Finnamore’s writing is clear and unflinching. There can be a tendancy in break up memoirs to descend in to ‘Dear Diary, A boy hurt my feelings today. He’s really mean’ territory (one of the things I was hoping to mock) but Finnamore never even touches that sort of tone. She describes her hurt without sentiment. She is also writes with humour about the semi-lunacy that descends when you are in the midst of a bad break up. 

If you happen to be in the midst of a bad break up and you are not of the Oprah self help persuasion, there are some incidental do and for the love of god do not’s in the book. One of them being rid yourself of self help books (If you find that sort of thing helpful fine, personally makes me feel homicidal). Learn from someone else’s mistakes and save your self the hassle.

The wider cast of characters are colourful in a California sort of way (a transvestite driver for example) and a bit cliché (straight talking, slightly demented mother anyone?). This would bother me more if the description of the devestation that follows nasty break-ups was less real. 

I strongly recommend it for the heart broken. For everyone else its worth a read but not essential.

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