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Book Review: Divorce Sucks: What to Do when Irreconcilable Differences, Lawyer Fees, and Your Ex’s Hollywood Wife Make You Miserable by Mary Jo Eustace

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It came as a surprise to my friends and family (and, to be honest, to myself) when I picked this book up; after all, marriage isn’t a part of my personal life nor have I any interest in Tori Spelling, her husband or his ex.

Then why did I pick it up, you might wonder? Well, it was the promise that this book was not to be a tale of anger and resentment, but rather a witty yet deep reflection on the conditions that created the divorce and how women everywhere can get over a one, however bad it is. Now this I’m sure you’re not surprised to read piqued my curiosity, all the more that, quite unfortunately, I do have friends of all ages going through divorces right now. So I figured I might understand a little more about their plight and learn how to help them by reading this book.

Then again, it might also have something to do with the tag line: “My husband left me for Tori Spelling… (and you thought your divorce sucked!)” Who really knows?

I didn’t know much about the Mary Jo/Dean/Tori story, other than he left his wife of many years after an affair with Tori during the filming of a movie, then these two got married and had a reality TV show that didn’t do too well, and there is a baby somewhere in there, too. I wasn’t too certain if I needed background information on what happened between these three before plunging into this book. Then I figured that most people probably knew as much if not less than I do, and so decided to keep the plains of my mind free from information pertaining to the situation and focusing on reading the book.

I’m glad I didn’t waste my time surfing tabloids, because I don’t want to take the time to do that, and in all honeslty, you really don’t need to know anything about the situation other than what Mary Jo herself presents. Granted, it’s probably biased, but she does a great job of being relatively detached from what Dean & Tori did to her to remain focused on what this book is all about.

After all, Divorce Sucks is part of the Sucks series, and no, it has nothing to do with vampires or Twilight (I know, it’s hard from some of you to believe that not everything has to do with Twilight, but there you have it). This series of many titles include the following, which I am very tempted to pick up: Pregnancy Sucks for Men (because it doesn’t for women?), Potty Training Sucks and Dating Sucks.

Big doses of candour, a touch of cynicism (can’t blame her, seriously) and a huge dollop of optimism (I know, how odd to have both cynicism and optimism in the same book), mixed with an engaging, high energy voice all combine to make this book an easy, engaging and thoughtful read – and not just for recently divorced women. I definitely think that women and men who are happily married should read Divorce Sucks, since its always good to know what can go wrong so as to be able to avoid it altogether. Women and men who are unhappily married should obviously definitely read this book, and so should women and men who are getting or got a divorce. For that matter, single people who have married friends should read it, and so should widowers. It never helps to be ready to face an event, either directly or indirectly, which statistics say will hit a little over 50% of couples.

I, for one, haven’t personally lived through divorce (thank goodness, because they are hard!), but this book has already helped me understand better what my friends are going through with theirs. Also, reading this book has helped me think back on some of the problems I have had in previous relationships, to hopefully avoid these issues in future ones (or one, who knows).

Throughout the book, we get the impression that Mary Jo Eustace is a big fighter, and that she has never easily put her arms down and simply accepted defeat. Her story is very inspiring, because while bad situations happen to all of us, at least ours isn’t dragged into the public eye (oh, the horror) and we can deal with it in the comfort of our own physical, mental and spiritual zone. However, despite her unique situation, she doesn’t make it seem like she is a particularly special victim; nope, no cheap attention grabbing ploy here, and let me tell you something: it’s very refreshing. Rather, Mary Jo Eustace points out that she is unfortunately one of many, and hopes that by sharing her side of the already very public story, she can manage to help others who will go through this themselves.

Although I am tempted to go on a Dean & Tori bashing spree, I will take the example of Mary Jo and simply say that they did not make things any easier, and offer yet another kudos to Mary Jo for handling it in an extremely dignified way. I’m certain the worse things didn’t make it into the book, but still I’m certain that even at her worse moments, she acted in a much more dignified way than others would have – however undignified she would have been

I like that she is using her notoriety to reach out to women in a fun way about a really hard topic and giving them advice that they otherwise would not have had. I find it interesting how, even in my generation, which, as the hip Generation Y, we’re supposed to be so much more open, etc, and yet, we still have a certain taboo when it comes to divorce and it’s still a huge shame and a burden to bear alone rather than share with friends so that they can help you with it. I can hope that none of my friends are going to divorce in the future, but since the stats are working against that, I am going to stock up on this book and give it to them as soon as the marriage starts showing signs of strain.

If you or anyone you know is living through a divorce, or is heading alarmingly fast towards it, you might want to get your hands on the book. While certainly not the ultimate book on divorce, it’s definitely a great icebreaker, especially since the advice comes from a personal perspective rather than a professional one. Definitely a great way to start, Divorce Sucks will make even the most cynical reader something to smile about.

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