Wendy Swallow is the author of two memoirs that redefine the literature on divorce and remarriage. First came Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce (Hyperion/Theia, 2001) and now
The Triumph of Love Over Experience: A Memoir of Remarriage
Swallow, a former Washington Post reporter, uses the prism of her own experience to write about the modern reality of divorce and remarriage in an effort to dispel the popular myths and out-dated advice surrounding these difficult life events.
So many of the books on divorce and remarriage are prescriptive, books that tell you what to do and how to go about it but offer little more. They are helpful, but when I was going through my divorce, I longed for something more honest, for books that would acknowledge the overwhelming emotional currents I knew we were all feeling, Swallow says.
I wanted to talk about what it felt like to let my three-year-old go to bed without a kiss from me in a home where I was no longer welcome. I wanted to write about what it felt like to have married friends envy my single status, and what it felt like to date men who treated my children like pesky pets.
I found my divorce to be an astonishing journey through a confusing and windswept landscape. I was simultaneously lonelier and happier than I had ever been before, stronger and more fragile, hopeful and often hopeless as I struggled with everything from flat tires to taxes on my own. In time, I found my balanceonly to lose it again when I fell in love with Charlie.
Within a few years we merged our two sets of boys in a rambling house with too many stairs, and I set off on a new journey, the effort to make this second marriage work despite the considerable odds against us.
This time I wrote about why it was so hard to give up my scrappy single-mom identity to become a pampered wife again, why the complexity of my life increased a thousand-fold the day I got engaged, and why the role of a stepmother is perhaps the most loaded and challenging of all social relationships. And how all of it is worth every nail-biting moment.
Click on the links at left to find out more about Swallow and her books.