Is there really such a thing as a “good divorce”? Determined to uncover the truth, Elizabeth Marquardt—herself a child of divorce—conducted, with Professor Norval Glenn, a pioneering national study of children of divorce, surveying 1,500 young adults from both divorced and intact families between 2001 and 2003. In Between Two Worlds, she weaves the findings of that study together with powerful, unsentimental stories of the childhoods of young people from divorced families.
The hard truth, she says, is that while divorce is sometimes necessary, even amicable divorces sow lasting inner conflict in the lives of children. When a family breaks in two, children who stay in touch with both parents must travel between two worlds, trying alone to reconcile their parents’ often strikingly different beliefs, values, and ways of living. Authoritative, beautifully written, and alive with the voices of men and women whose lives were changed by divorce, Marquardt’s book is essential reading for anyone who grew up “between two worlds.”
“Makes a persuasive case against the culture of casual divorce.” —Washington Post
“A poignant narrative of her own experience . . . Marquardt says she and other young adults who grew up in the divorce explosion of the 1970s and 1980s are still dealing with wounds that they could never talk about with their parents.”—Chicago Tribune
There's no such thing as a "good divorce," argues Marquardt, a scholar with the Institute for American Values. Divorce harms children for the rest of their lives, she says; it turns them into "little adults" who anxiously protect their fragile parents, instead of being protected, the way they are in "intact" families. Divorce forces children to guard parental secrets-protecting Mom by not telling Dad, or vice versa. At increased risk from pedophilic attacks (from their mothers' boyfriends or new husbands) and substance abuse, "children of divorce" may also feel alienated from organized religion, although Marquardt's survey finds them more likely to feel their spirituality strengthened by adversity. Marquardt says she's based her book on her own experiences as a child of divorce and on the results of a "nationally representative survey," yet her own bias strongly colors this work. Intact-family envy-the kids with parents sit in the front pews at church, while the children of divorce sit alone in the back, eyeing them; a 20-something Marquardt "sobbing" as she tries to decide which of her divorced parents will walk her down the wedding aisle-permeates this feisty tract. Agent, Carol Mann. (On sale Sept. 27) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.