Divorce is a daunting process that may feel completely and utterly frightening for the unprepared. The same can be said for trying to jump back into the dating scene. Author Rosario Bacon Billingsley has these answers and much more in her book, He’s Not the Right One…Divorce & Dating Thereafter. With a background and working experience in both mental health and the legal professions, she provides guidance from more than just one aspect of divorce. The result is a perfectly balanced book which contains not only the legal expectations and realities of the process but the psychological toll it takes on a person’s mental well-being.
In order to make her advice personal and applicable, Rosario Bacon Billingsley organizes her book in a series of stories. This way, her readers can follow specific examples and see the how’s and why’s of each particular subject. For example, her first story discusses a husband’s refusal to accept that a divorce was happening to him as well as the requirement to pay support. He stands firm in his beliefs that he owes nothing, but the reader will soon see him in contempt, having to serve jail time, and even losing his business license. Some of the stories center on the wife, while others on the husband; some tell the process from the prospective of the jilted and others from the bored or the philanderer. Essentially, all sides are represented, and her clients are not always the ‘innocent’ party. I thought using the stories in the way the author did truly brought her advice to life. They weren’t just bland legal or dating suggestions; they became people with real heartache, real pain, and circumstances that readers could identify with.
The author’s tone throughout the book has quite a zing, and it initially threw me because I wasn’t expecting it. You can obviously tell which behaviors – and characters – set well with her and which didn’t. She has nicknames for opposing counsel, the presiding judges, and the other party in the divorce such as Mr. Flamboyant, Mr. Stoneface, Judge Contemptible, Judge Power Play, Mr. Casanova, and Ms. Know-It-All. You can call the author edgy, sarcastic, jaded, funny, or realistic, but I absolutely loved her. And as a very recent divorcee and dater, I could completely identify with so much of her information.
He’s Not the Right One…Divorce & Dating Thereafter contains only a small handful of editing oversights and does date itself with some of the language used. For example, Rosario Bacon Billingsley uses ‘1990s’ quite often in the text. At the time of publication – 1996 – that would have made perfect sense. However, for long term use and potential application by future readers, it places the book in that decade and in that decade only. I would hate for a reader to stop reading the book upon reaching a ‘woman of the 90s’ reference and think, ‘Yikes, I don’t want to be that!’. I think with some minor modifications (i.e., use ‘modern woman’ or ‘dating in today’s world’ and completely take out ‘automatic teller card’ references…I literally laughed out loud at that reference!), it would give a more timeless quality to the book. Other than those small issues, I think Rosario Bacon Billingsley gives fantastic advice, an empathetic voice, and a sharp smack of reality to those going through the divorce process.