Abigail, an inspired cook and stay-at-home mother, decides to repair the problems in her marriage with a diet book for herself and an elaborate birthday dinner for her husband. But over dinner her husband announces that the whole marriage thing just doesn’t work for him. Reeling, she packs up her baby, her cookbooks, and her single estate extra virgin olive oil and moves in with her parents while she looks for work and child care.
Abigail did not appeal to me at all. I found her to be too passive and stuck in the present. Given her marital breakup was a surprise, I felt she could have carried herself differently, taking action swiftly, and stop with the victim card. Her personality failed to evoke anything other than irritation. Thad (husband) was equally irritating. I did appreciate her erratic thoughts, her sarcastic humor, and eventually her candor, otherwise she was vanilla requiring some serious spicing up, too pessimistic for my taste, immature to boot.
The narrative demonstrates the heartache of divorce. Despite my dislike of Abigail, it was sad to accompany her on her forced journey into a new life thrusted upon her by her self absorbed husband. Finally, when acceptance washes over her, realizing her husband and marriage wasn’t as fantastic as she thought, coming clean is part of the healing and survival process as Abigail transforms into her own person. The narrative was monotonous and dragged on, the later part of the narrative listing recipes was the highlight, Abigail wore on me tremendously.
About Ellen Hawley
Ellen Hawley has published two previous novels, Open Line (Coffee House Press, 2008) and Trip Sheets (Milkweed Editions, 1998). She has worked as an editor and copy editor, a creative writing teacher, a talk show host, a cab driver, a waitress, an assembler, a janitor, a file clerk, and for four panic-filled hours a receptionist. She lived in Minnesota for forty years and now lives in Cornwall, where she feeds a blog—as well as two cats, one dog, one partner, and any friends who stop by. Awards include a Writer’s Voice Capricorn Award, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Loft-McKnight Award.
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Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Ellen Hawley’s The Divorce Diet, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 28 January. Thank you TLC