Divorce Is The Worst
Back in the day when I was guiding my brain damaged sibling
through our parents' messy divorce there was nothing on the library
shelves to help us make sense of parental breakup. By the time I was
raising my own children there were offerings in this subgenre--volumes
that were trite, preachy, didactic...anything but useful in helping
them to understand what was going on in friends' families.
Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to discover Anastasia
Higginbotham's Divorce Is The Worst. Whether a child reads it
independently or discusses it with family, it can help her/him cope
with can truly seem like the worst.
What makes Divorce Is The Worst so exceptional is the perfect
blend of sparse text and evocative pictures. Sentences are succinct
and direct. "You may get angry or feel guilty." "You might cry over
little things." Use of words like may or might acknowledges and
authenticates differences in the ways children perceive and feel. The
art consists of dynamic collages done on brown paper bags with pieces
of all kinds of materials. Everychild's expressions are beautifully
evocative. He/she looks devastated when telling unseen parents "You
promised to be together forever!" and "You broke your promise.". "You
may get angry" features a picture of vividly stormy eyes. A picture
of horses and "They might buy you outrageous gifts" evokes a stunned
expression and "whooa..."
At the end children are reminded that their story is still
theirs even if some parts of their lives are beyond their control and
shown how to use scraps to create their own narratives. Even kids
with parents who stay together.
Divorce Is The Worst is a must acquire for school and public
libraries and savvy guidance counselors. It's also a good investment
for families. Even if you're parenting in a stable, committed
twosome, kids your children care deeply about, say cousins or
classmates, may be members of breaking up households.
Divorce Is The Worst is part of the Ordinary Terrible Things
Series. I promise to check out other books in the series. In fact I
am delighted to discover the publisher, The Feminist Press. They
operate out of City University of New York. I'm going to send away
for their catelog because, dear readers, I have a feeling it will be
the source of more awesome volumes for me to bring to your attention.
What wonderful literary experiences lie ahead of us!!!
On a personal note, I am posting this review on my birthday.* I will
be celebrating for sure. I have baked cakes for my friends in
Multicultural Center and Rainbow Resource Room. I will get to have my
birthday supper with my Wilson Center family. How lucky can a woman
*Which also happens to be World Peace Day and the birthday of Maine's
own master of horror, Mr. Stephen King.
Minor correction: life got hectic and I'm posting it two days later.
Sent from my iPod