The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

The Divorce Diet: Book Review

the-divorce-diet
I’ve been divorced. Once or twice. OK, twice. Point being, I know a thing or two about the emotional hit you take when the other says, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

I’ve also been on a diet. Once or twice, I’ve needed to shed a couple of pounds. OK, several dozen pounds. Point being, I am familiar with the self-talk one engages in. You know the kind of inner dialogue. Before you sits the cake. “OK, one little slice,” you say. You shave off a sliver. You tell yourself, “Hide that thing from view,” so as to prevent temptation. You hide it so well that before you know it, only half the cake remains and you toss it in the garbage in disgust. Then you give the cake plate a thorough going-over to remove every last gob of icing. “Finger-licking good”, you tell yourself. You are crying. Or scowling. Or both.

No surprise, then, when I tell you how well I can relate to newly single Abigail in Ellen Hawley’s latest novel, The Divorce Diet. Abigail is trying out a new diet and records her intake and exercise in the journal. Sure, she has put on a few extra pounds when she was pregnant with Rosie. Sure, things haven’t been all that hot and heavy in the boudoir with her husband, “It’s-not-you-it’s-me” Thad. Good ol’ Thad. The guy with exquisite timing. The guy who drops a bomb over dinner. “This marriage thing? Yeah, it’s not working for me” It was his birthday dinner. The meal that she lovingly prepared that day. Including dessert. A chocolate cake with real chocolate leaves and raspberry jam and everything! A cake that ended up in the garbage after taking a short flight aimed at his head.

Hawley’s book is a diary of Abigail’s journey from the day she and the cake are dumped. We listen in on dialog between our newly single mother and her diet guru (the imaginary voice in her head) as she comes to terms with her situation. What will she do for work? Where will she live? Who will babysit Rosie, and wow, doesn’t that waiter have cute buns?

If you already read Ellen’s blog, Notes from the UK, then you are familiar with her wry, firecracker wit. The Divorce Diet is snappy and sassy. Every page, right up to and including the recipes (Yes! Chocolate Cake AND Chocolate Pie) is chock full of humour.

It’s poignant and heartbreaking too, to witness Abigail as she navigates the passage from marriage to single-motherhood; to watch as she realizes that perhaps life with Thad wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. That it’s time she listen to herself and not to some diet guru. It’s time to define what it is she loves to do. And do it.

The Divorce Diet will be released on December 30, 2014.

 

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53 replies

  1. Sounds like another addition for the ‘Must Read’ list. Thank you.

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  2. What a great review, Maggie! Sounds like a fun read.

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  3. Goodness that sounds terrific. I have been starting a post on a related topic for a few weeks now. A whole book! With a plot and everything! I’ll have to pick it up and see how she did it. Thanks Maggie!

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  4. With such an intriguing review, I have no choice but to find and read this book. I know I’ll like it. Thanks.

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  5. Add me to the list of people who are intrigued by your (most excellent) review!
    Even though I’ve never been divorced, I am well acquainted with dieting and an occasional overwhelming desire to propel at cake at Husband’s head 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow! What an energetic, entertaining and informative review! I don’t know if I’ll read the book, though. I’ve had about all the divorce and dieting I can stand for one lifetime… 🙂

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  7. Maggie, this sounds a fun read. I, like you, with two divorces under my belt, can probably relate fairly well!! That little voice in my head lets me down from time to time… shall I eat that or not? If I ask that voice and the answer is usually ‘yes…. but you shouldn’t.’

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  8. ‘Yeah, it’s not working for me’–one of my all time favorite phrases. Listening to NPR last night and heard today is ‘Check Your Attitude Day’ or something like that. And the newscaster ends it with, “So how’s that working for you?” I just had to laugh.

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  9. Thanks, Maggie. You haven’t steered me wrong on a blog or a book 🙂 got it on my list, and heading to blog now.

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  10. That sounds like a lot of fun, I’ll have to add it to my “to read” list.
    And I can totally relate on hiding cake so well that most of it just disappears. I hide a lot of things very well, mostly cake and chocolate. Gin and tonics too. They all get hidden…

    Great review.

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    • Hi Celine – I’m glad you understand. My boss used to get annoyed because I’d so easily uncover his hiding places for cookies and candies and chocolate. I mean, seriously. He had them hidden under “C” in the filing cabinet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, haha, I meant ‘hiding’ as in, ‘there was a cake there and now it has just disappeared!’. I ‘hide’ lots of stuff that way. In fact I might start calling it that when I demolish an entire packet of chocolate biscuits – they’re just hiding 😉

        That’s crazy about your boss hiding cookies in the filing cabinet (and under C, lol!), that’s taking it to a whole other level!

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        • OH! heh heh, gotcha.

          Yeah, hiding, as in “removing from my sight” is a strategy that I need to use at home. My husband Reiner has a sweet tooth and does not gain an ounce. He buys candies and cookies and I beg him to hide them, literally, or otherwise I will eat them. By the fistful. My first line of defense is to not bring any “forbidden” food into the house. But… he lives here too.

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          • Sounds just like my husband! More than that, he will eat and drink whatever he wants, and then will go ‘oh, my trousers are way too big for me now, they need an inch taken in’.
            It’s SO unfair.

            Same I have to try and forbid naughty things at home. Actually on that note, I’ve found this awesome recipe for ‘fake’ brownies. I’m not one for raw / gluten free stuff at all normally (I like the good stuff!) but they actually taste awesome and are super easy to do.

            I tweaked the recipe so I make them with equal dates and hazlenuts instead of pecans, and with a good 4-5 heaped tbsp coco powder. Really worth trying! Means you can devour a whole batch without worrying since it’s all good stuff 😉

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  11. Though I’m widowed not divorced and at the stage of my life ( old, well , sort of . 76 isn’t too bad) so I don’t worry about the extra stone or two overweight I am, this sounds like my kind of book.

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  12. I didn’t expect when I began blogging to discover so many authors. Writing so much good stuff! This review is terrific, Maggie.

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  13. That one’s going on my Amazon Wish List! Thanks!

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  14. I am not usually into this type of book but I think I am going to check it out. Thanks for giving me something to reconsider 🙂

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  15. So timely for my situation! I am absolutely going to read this!

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  16. Maggie, an awesome review! I’m already one of Ellen’s many blog followers and love her humorous writing. It sparked me to add humor to my blog posts and books. Hard to be a left-brained copyeditor turned creative non-fiction writer! Ellen helped with the push! In the long ago past I’ve been divorced and I’ve been on diets. Clever of Ellen to put the unlikely pair together. Your review sealed the deal. I’m reading the book!

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  17. This sounds great! I really enjoyed your review! 🙂

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  18. I have preordered this book as a gift for my mom and am in hopes that I can then borrow it from her! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I haven’t been through a divorce, but this book sounds really funny! Putting on my must-read list! Thanks for blogging it!

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  20. I read a book a few years ago called “Recipes for a perfect marriage” by Kate Kerrigan. I don’t usually read the tripe my missus reads but she highly recommended this to me. She was right. A very witty story. She held my attention from start to finish. The title of the above book reminded me of it.

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  21. Looks like a good read. And a good review.

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