The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
I am always delighted to discover new epistolary novels. The latest addition to the genre is written by a Columbia Law School graduate and certainly no lightweight, coming in at over 450 pages. Not normally daunted by “A Big Book” and expecting to have as much fun as I did when I read Where’d you go, Bernadette, my high hopes were soon deflated when the gloss wore off and I found it to be little more than a reworking of Kramer vs Kramer.
While the premise of the plot sounds like it would be a fun read—newbie lawyer Sophie Diehl is handed a high profile divorce case (by default) even though Sophie isn’t even a divorce lawyer. Now this may be a problem for most people, but not Sophie. With true grit and chutzpah this novice criminal lawyer immediately rises to the challenge. The novelty of reading a variety of different letters, newspaper articles, and court documents should make this an enjoyable book but it felt more like Divorce for Dummies.
Some readers may enjoy slogging through famous divorce cases, legal documents, and settlement summaries. I felt like I was prepping for the LSAT. What a shame because buried underneath all that legalese could be a charming story about an underdog lawyer who overcomes all kinds of obstacles to shine through in her personal and professional life.
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