When I was going through my midlife divorce, I read literally hundreds of divorce recovery books. I was desperate and I thought if I could just get one positive idea or find some little glimmer of hope in each book, it was worth my time.
Right this minute I have 257 books (yes, I counted them!) on the floor of my office because my bookshelves are full. I have read all of these books. I use them for reference even now as I help women through divorce.
I discovered that many of the specific books on divorce recovery had print that was too small. The words were too academic and technical. It was hard for me to concentrate on very detailed psychological explanations for why I was feeling like I might actually die from the pain of my divorce!
Very few of the books about divorce recovery had simple, practical actions that I could take to get myself to a better place. I was exhausted with trying to just survive from morning ‘til night.
That’s why I ended up writing my own divorce recovery book. What I needed most during and after the end of my 33-year marriage was a plan. A roadmap. I needed a clear agenda for putting the despair, fear and rage I was feeling behind me.
I needed practical actions to help me face the grief that was just under the surface all day every day. I needed help healing from all those months of hurt. But just as important, I wanted someone to tell me how to rediscover me. I needed a plan of action to eventually get to the life that I deserved and desperately wanted to find.
My divorce recovery book, Radical Recovery: Transforming the Despair of Your Divorce Into an Unexpected Good is an easy-to-read, practical book that works. It talks in real language. It expresses real feelings and it guides you to real solutions.
Radical Recovery: Transforming the Despair of Your Divorce into an Unexpected Good
By Suzy Brown
Description: Radical Recovery is a resource guide to help you survive those first awful days, weeks, months, and, of course, all the nights of a midlife divorce. But the goal is not just survival, it’s life-transformation. In spite of your divorce, there is a destiny for you beyond your wildest dreams! Believe that truth and get your new life started today.
Outside-the-box books that helped in unique ways while I was going through divorce
I want to ask you to follow the advice I give to RADiCAL Women who take my 10-Week Divorce Recovery Classes.
I tell class members to go to the book store and just poke around. You should do this too: Find books and magazines that you find interesting or intriguing. Gardening. Business. Writing. Egyptian Art. Birds. Architecture. Remember what you were interested in when you were younger – before you were married.
Also ask yourself this question: “Is my ex or soon-to-be ex-husband snuffling around the self-help section at Barnes and Noble?” No! He is busy living and embracing his new life, (often with his new woman!) You need grab your new life by the throat now, too!
Below is a list of books that I read during my divorce journey. These books are not considered divorce recovery books, per se, but they all inspired me in some unique way as I tried to get my confidence back. Some of them will make you laugh out loud and that’s a real gift when you’ve spent so much time sobbing in desperate sadness or rage.
With each book, I’ve included a quote from the book that made me hopeful that I could actually survive this ugly divorce and maybe even find something good in the future.
Book #1 – The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love
By Jill Conner Browne
Description: “Hilariously funny and wise. Long live the Sweet Potato Queens!” Fanny Flagg
“He has gone to that all-time favorite guy place — Outta Here. And you are what is commonly referred to as In a Hole. If you could find an actual hole, deep enough and dark enough, you would happily crawl off into it and sever all ties with life as you know it. … all you want to do is cry and eat.
But don’t you do it. Snivel a little and have a fair-sized medicinal snack, and then get over it. Here’s why. One of the Queens, Tammy, had a guy just absolutely rip her very heart out and use it to fix a flat, right before her very eyes. And she crawled through life for months and months and spent all kinds of money on therapists trying to figure out what happened (he dumped her), and why (he was a squirrel), and what she could do about it (not a damn thing).”
Book #2 – Plan B – Further Thoughts on Faith
By Anne Lamott
Description: “Lots of people love Anne Lamott , because she’s funny and she tells the truth, and truth and laughter are two things we need more of.” New York Times Book Review
“The problem with God — or at any rate, one of the top five most annoying things about God — is that He or She rarely answers right away. It can take days, weeks. Some people seem to understand this — that life and change take time.”
“Help!” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray — with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Prayer usually means praise, or surrender, acknowledging that you have run out of bullets.”
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you are going to live it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are.”
Book #3 – Enough, dammit: a cynic’s guide to finally getting what you want out of life
By Karen Salmansohn
Description: 44 Life Lessons to get you years of joy, strength and moxie.
Karen challenges you to stop your self-sabotaging bad behavior, and start making your dreams come true.
“Life Lesson # 17:
If you want to change your life for the better, you must change your mind’s mind about its view of change …. So it views change for the better! (Get it?!)
You must STOP focusing on: CHANGE = NEW POTENTIAL PAIN
You must SWAP in focusing on: CHANGE = SNAGGING YOUR DREAM QUEST!
You must STOP focusing on CHANGE = DREAD
You must SWAP in focusing on: CHANGE = EXCITEMENT OVER ALL THAT WILL SOON BE YOURS!”
Book #4 – The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
By Julia Cameron
Description: Julia Cameron leads you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. We’re all artists in our own way.
- Recovering a Sense of Safety
- Recovering a Sense of Identity
- Recovering a Sense of Power
- Recovering a Sense of Integrity
- Recovering a Sense of Possibility
- Recovering a Sense of Abundance
- Recovering a Sense of Connection
- Recovering a Sense of Strength
- Recovering a Sense of Compassion
- Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection
- Recovering a Sense of Autonomy
- Recovering a Sense of Faith”
Book #5 – Succulent Wild Women
Description: “This book is my glowing invitation to you — to live a rich, succulent life! I explore love, sexuality, romance, money, fat, fear and creativity. It’s a little bit like reading my diary — with permission. Succulence is power•full! And so are we as women.” SARK
“GROWING AS WILD WOMEN
We must insist on succulence! Our lives are too rich and rare to have less. We will grow more as we practice.
Growing as wild women involves breaking out of cages, boxes, stereotypes, categories, and captivity. It involves standing tall, laughing loudly, and being who we really are.
Growing means separation from: being victims, passive-aggressive participants, unwilling caretakers, lying lovers, fake friends, or nice girls.
Growing means letting go of: what others will think, of narrow possibilities, of tight clothes and uncomfortable shoes.”
Book #6 – You, Inc. – The Art of Selling Yourself
By Harry Beckwith & Christine K. Clifford
Description: “The Definitive Guide to Career and Personal Success. “Sure to keep you moving from page to page … loaded with powerful strategies for building a better career and life.”
Tom Rath, bestselling author of StrengthsFinder 2.0
“The Brand Called You
“In plotting the Brand Called You, too many people believe they can weave a tale. They believe … that brands are produced through cleverness and deception. … So we either rebel at the idea of branding, or we embrace it as a useful tool of deception.
Great brands, however, are authentic. They have endured because people have learned they are credible and have come to trust those brands to be what they say they are; great brands have integrity.
No one responds to our efforts to be other than who we are. They respond to the good but bad, excellent but flawed person across the table from them.”
Book #7 – Prince Charming Isn’t Coming – How Women Get Smart About Money
By Barbara Stanny
Description: “A heart-to-heart talk about the psychological and financial tools women need to take control of their economic destiny.” The Seattle Times
“It was the turning point for me, the moment when I knew that no one — not my former husband, not my lawyers — not even my father would save me. It was up to me to do something. That realization, devastating as it was, actually set me free. Until I came to it, I remained chained to the past, unmotivated to change, unable to move forward.
“Psychologists tell us that when a woman becomes financially independent, she gains self-assurance and peace of mind, and her relationships become healthier and more mature.”
“There is no one right way to get to that point where we finally say to ourselves, with total certainty, ‘I know Prince Charming isn’t coming. I have to do it myself. I can do it myself. I want to do it myself.”
The Importance of Divorce Recovery Books
If you are looking for divorce recovery books and resources, the books above will be helpful.
Keep in mind that each book can contain insights and explanations. But the real test of how good a divorce recovery book is, is if it actually motivates you to take action that will change your life. The saying, “Nothing changes until something changes” is true for divorce recovery resources like everything else.