Thursday, March 28, 2019

Review: Rock, Paper, Scissors by Cathia Leonard Friou

Many years ago one of my neighbors was in the middle of a divorce. We often walked and talked about it as she was going through it. One of the decidedly lighter moments was when she told me that she had dipped her toe in online dating only to have her ex show up as her very first match. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, they had once been married so surely they had a lot in common that had led them to the altar in the first place and the dating site's algorithm had picked up on that, but on the other hand, they were divorcing so all their commonalities didn't make them a good couple and no algorithm could know that. Cathia Leonard Friou details a similar situation in her short, thoughtful memoir about her divorce, Rock Paper Scissors: Scenes from a Charmed Divorce.

In this collection of brief vignettes about her marriage and subsequent divorce from her high school sweetheart Stuart, Friou examines the moments that made each of them who they were within their marriage and the unspectacular moments within that marriage that led them to divorce. The book is reflective and soul-searching, a non-linear look at the emotional journey she went through as she carefully and intentionally separated her life from her husband, the father of her children. Friou and her ex grew apart, unable to be for each other who the other spouse needed them to be. In the grand scheme of divorces, it was amiable and civilized but that doesn't take away from the grief and second guessing that still attended the process. She doesn't glorify divorce and acknowledges that hers has been pretty charmed as far as divorces go. Friou is honest in her sharing and the book feels like a solid way for her to move on, to close that chapter of her life with thankfulness, to release any remnants of pain leftover from the process, even though the divorce was settled long ago. The writing is simple and heartfelt and she recognizes and accepts that Stuart will forever be a part of her and her life even as she builds a new life for herself. A positive and affecting small memoir, this is an interesting read not only for those who are divorced or are contemplating it but also for those firmly in a relationship who will appreciate it for its insight into human interaction.

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