The Divorce Party – Laura Dave

Title: The Divorce Party
Author: Laura Dave
ISBN: 9780143115601
Pages: 272
Release Date: May 15, 2008
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the publisher’s website:

On their 35th anniversary, Gwyn Huntington and her husband Thomas have invited friends and family to their Montauk home. Instead of celebrating their decades-long love, they are toasting their divorce. This also marks the weekend that their son brings home his fiancée, Maggie Mackenzie, for the first time. Maggie thought she was joining a perfect family, but she is about to reckon with some uncomfortable truths about the man she wants to marry.

A multi-generational story about what it means to share a life with someone, The Divorce Party brings us two immensely appealing women: Gwyn who is stumbling upon the end of her marriage, and Maggie, her future-daughter-in-law, who is trying to navigate the beginning of hers. With emotional candor and surprising humor, these two women find themselves trying to answer the same questions: Can you ever really know someone? When should you fight for the person you love most, and when should you begin to let him go?

Laura Dave’s The Divorce Party really surprised me.  When I picked it up, I was expecting a light, humorous, chick lit-type novel.  The vibe I got from the cover and title was most definitely “beach read.”  Once I opened the book, though, it was clear that The Divorce Party was much more than I’d originally thought it would be.

Though The Divorce Party deals with a lot of women’s issues, and is told from the point of view of two women, I would argue it falls just as much into the contemporary fiction category as it does into women’s fiction.  The novel has unexpected depth, deals with serious issues, and is quietly contemplative.  It’s one of those books that really makes you think.  Additionally, the literary quality of Laura Dave’s writing makes this little novel much more than it originally seems.

Indeed, the writing is what made The Divorce Party such a joy to read.  Dave’s writing is simply beautiful.  She writes with such emotion behind each word, which works very well for this novel.  Her writing style gives the book additional weight and makes it much more of a literary work of fiction.  Here is one of my favorite passages from this novel:

“How do you avoid getting here?  How do you pull your daughter back from such a sad place?  If this sadness is something she has passed on, she wants to take it back, take all of it back and bear the burden herself.  Make different choices, be braver, do just about anything so her daughter thinks she is worthy of getting everything she needs as opposed to trying to figure out how to be better at giving it away.”

Additionally, the two narrators of this novel, Maggie and Gwyn, are very well-written and easy to like.  Through them, Dave explores such difficult subjects as lies, betrayal, love, and being true to oneself.  It’s a lot of ground to cover in such a small book as this, and Dave does it very well.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Divorce Party and highly recommend it to both readers of women’s fiction and contemporary fiction.  This is an engaging and beautiful novel that will stick with you for a long time after you put it down.

Comments

  1. I have seen quite a few good reviews of this book. It definitely looks like one I’d enjoy! I’m adding it to my TBR!

  2. I have seen quite a few good reviews of this book. It definitely looks like one I’d enjoy! I’m adding it to my TBR!

  3. I may have to check this one out, I’m doing the chick-lit challenge, and the last few books I’ve picked up are… well not me. This looks like it has more substance in it. Thanks for the review!

    I have an award for you at my blog, here’s the link http://juliebooks.blogspot.com/2009/09/award_21.html

    and hopefully the week is a good one.

  4. I may have to check this one out, I’m doing the chick-lit challenge, and the last few books I’ve picked up are… well not me. This looks like it has more substance in it. Thanks for the review!

    I have an award for you at my blog, here’s the link http://juliebooks.blogspot.com/2009/09/award_21.html

    and hopefully the week is a good one.

  5. I’ve heard some good things about this book. I’ll probably check it out soon. Great post!

  6. I’ve heard some good things about this book. I’ll probably check it out soon. Great post!

  7. Thanks for mentioning that it could easily be considered contemporary fiction. It sounds like this book is definitely an example of not judging a book by its cover.

  8. Thanks for mentioning that it could easily be considered contemporary fiction. It sounds like this book is definitely an example of not judging a book by its cover.

  9. I expected this to be a light, frothy book too. You’ve made it sound so good.

  10. I expected this to be a light, frothy book too. You’ve made it sound so good.

  11. I confess that the cover of this one might have scared me away, but after reading your review I really want to read it. I love the passage you shared.

  12. I confess that the cover of this one might have scared me away, but after reading your review I really want to read it. I love the passage you shared.

  13. The cover holds no appeal for me, but your review was so excellent that I’m adding it to my list!

  14. The cover holds no appeal for me, but your review was so excellent that I’m adding it to my list!

  15. I loved this book. Here is my review: http://nomadreader.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-review-divorce-party-by-laura-dave.html

    I actually enjoyed her first novel, London is the Best City in America, even more. You should check it out too!

  16. I loved this book. Here is my review: http://nomadreader.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-review-divorce-party-by-laura-dave.html

    I actually enjoyed her first novel, London is the Best City in America, even more. You should check it out too!

  17. I’ll keep this one in mind for when I need a light read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  18. I’ll keep this one in mind for when I need a light read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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