March 17, 2014

ARC Review: The Divorce Papers by: Susan Rieger

The Divorce Papers: A Novel by: Susan Rieger (Tomorrow: March 18, 2014)
480 pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Crown
Source: I received a free ARC from Netgalley and The Publisher for an honest review. Thanks!
Goodreads Summary: 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.

My Review

The Divorce Papers is on the longer side at 480 pages and takes a sort of determination to read it all the way through. It wasn’t a bad read; it was just a long one.

This book is full of dynamic characters, but keeping track of who is who is a challenge during the first handful of pages. I love that this book is told completely through letters, memos, emails, legal papers, and articles, but this aspect also makes it harder for readers to connect and get to know the characters at first and tell them apart. The main character, Sophie, is a complicated young woman whose rambling emails always gave me a chuckle. The divorce she is handling becomes intense, Sophie is handling the wife’s affairs. Sophie’s family, friends, and co-workers all make fun appearances. My favorite is when we finally get an insight on how the child involved in the divorce is feeling near the end of the novel through a psychiatrist report, bringing out all kinds of emotions in me.

Like I mentioned earlier The Divorce Papers’ main source of storytelling is through legal documents. I did enjoy getting an inside peek at the legal side of a divorce, (it is intense), but I also found that after a while the documents became a little repetitive and sometimes just a little over my head with all the legal jargon. The beginning of the book starts out very strong and had my interest, but my attention started to wean about half way through and I wasn't fully engaged again until I was nearing the end. The middle was just a little slow and a little rough to read with all of those legal documents. I enjoyed the emails and handwritten letters more.

Overall, The Divorces Papers was a fun read that pulled on my heart strings and made me realize that I never want a divorce. (Not that I thought I wanted one before, but you know what I mean.) This book probably isn’t for everyone, especially considering its length, but I know there are people out there that would enjoy reading Sophie’s story and the emotional and legal ramifications of not only the couple divorcing, but the person handling their account, the firm, and the couple’s child, among others. The Divorce Papers is a unique novel, to say the least.


  1. Hmm that does sound unique! Not sure it's the book for me though :/

    1. It's a little long. That's the only correct way I can think to describe it.

  2. Yeah, not really my book either, but I feel like this nontraditional writing style is gaining momentum - using emails, letters, etc. - and I am loving it! Although it can make it harder to connect with the characters...

    1. I really hope we get more and more of the nontraditional writing style, but I think you are right, we are seeing it more often now, but sometimes i can make it harder to connect with the characters, which is frustrating.


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