Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Description (from cover):

‘Sparkling and sophisticated, this sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking debut novel tells the story of a very messy, very high-profile divorce and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.
Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old-line New England firm, where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are trapped behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one week, with all the big partners out of town, Sophie is stick handling the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client.
After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. Mia is now locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Mather Medical School, for custody of their ten-year old daughter Jane. Mia also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. The way she sees it, it’s her first divorce, too. For Sophie, the whole affair will spark a hard look at her own relationships–with her parents, colleagues, friends, lovers, and, most important, herself.
A rich, layered novel told entirely through personal correspondence, office memos, e-mails, articles, handwritten notes, and legal documents, The Divorce Papers offers a direct window into the lives of an entertaining cast of characters never shy about speaking their minds. Original and captivating, Susan Rieger’s brilliantly conceived and expertly crafted debut races along with with, heartache, and exceptional comedic timing, as it explores the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails–as well as the ever-present risks and coveted rewards of that thing called love.’

My thoughts:

Not many of you know, but I am a family law paralegal. I have been doing this job for about nine years now. Day in and day out, I deal with families that are going through divorces and see firsthand how that effects people. I normally tend to stay far away from reading about these kind of issues in my free time as I deal with it on a regular basis, but this book caught my eye. It actually was on a book-lover’s calendar that I have on my desk at work and what initially drew me in was the fact that this book is nothing but correspondence. It is written in emails, memos, letters, notes and articles. I liked that because it was something different. Another thing that drew me in was the story. I wanted to see how an author would take something that I do on a daily basis and how it would compare to the real thing. This book was spot on!
This story is about a high-profile divorce and and custody case. As a family law paralegal, I could relate a lot to this book from the way the client was acting to the things that came up during the case. This book does not sugarcoat the family law experience and I felt that it was an accurate depiction of what I see everyday. Sophie is a criminal law associate at a prestigious law firm and when the partners are out of town for a conference, she is asked to sit in on a family law consultation. Thinking that she would just take notes about the situation and hand the case off to a more experienced attorney, she is shocked when the client wants to hire her to represent her even though she has no family law experience. 
This book was nice read and very enjoyable. I found that it remained true to real life and that the story had its ups and downs just like a real divorce case would. It was nice to see Sophie struggle with the issues that arose during the case and how she learned from her colleagues and just by doing research. I felt that this book was engaging and I particularly loved the fact that it was written in correspondence. I found that was what set this book apart from the others and that it wasn’t overly unrealistic or mushy. A fantastic read all around!

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  The Divorce Papers
Author:  Susan Rieger
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Broadway Books
Publication Date:  October 28, 2014
Pages:  496
Genre:  Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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