One might think that, given my newlywed status, if I had my pick of books to read and review, I wouldn't choose one about divorce, and if I did, they'd probably be more than a little concerned for the fate of the fledgling Stevenson family.
Have no fear, sweet readers. Married life is so joyous for us, and my literary life is, too. I had seen "The Divorce Papers" on this list of to-read books for summer 2014, so when I saw it on a list of offered books to review, I jumped.
Maybe I should have looked closer before I leaped. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time connecting to the characters in this book, and for me, that is the kiss of death for a novel. The plot has to be interesting, but when I read and re-read a book over and over and over again, it's not because of the plot - it's because of the characters. Because they feel like friends and I want to "visit" them again. This is why I love book series, but I digress.
This book isn't written in the traditional narrative style. Instead, it's told through letters, emails, legal documents, etc. It is my personal experience that you either love or hate this style. I personally love it (usually). It's just like Meg Cabot's The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl, and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary. The difference is, I feel like I know and love those characters, like they could be my friends if they were real. Both Fielding and Cabot do an amazing job of using casual, honest dialogue and humor to create a fun read that you read quickly because you WANT to.
This book plodded. I've had to force myself to sit down and read it. The main character, Sophie, seems a little flat. Her emails to her supposed best friend seem overly formal, even for a lawyer. It's as though the author wrote the dialogue how she thought characters in books were supposed to speak, not how people actually speak in real life.
I also struggled with the million different legal briefs. As someone with NO background in law aside from one Media Law course for journalism school, it was incredibly tedious to read through SO MANY briefs and complaints and summons and all the different types of legal documents. I could see putting them in sporadically to lend a little seriousness, but this seemed overboard and at times downright boring.
In the to-read list mentioned above, this book was listed as a great to-read beach book. If I was reading this book on a beach in the sun, with a margarita in hand, it would only expedite my naptime. This might be a good read for lawyers, but for an average person looking for a light summer read, this kind of missed the mark. It's not a terrible book, just a little misleading. Perhaps the cover should look less chick-lit and more like a serious literary/legal novel.
I give this 2.5 stars out of 5. It's not the worst book I've ever read by far, but I don't know that I would read it again. Instead of friends, these characters seem more like acquaintances you pretend you don't see when you run into them at the grocery store.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.