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A book review of:

           by Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti
  Book Review Highlights:
  • Divorce triggers a staggering array of emotions.
  • Rebuilding maps a path to success for the rest of your life.
  • Highly recommended with one reservation.

     “People say ‘I don’t believe in divorce’ the same way they say ‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’  But divorce is real, and
it exists for a reason.”
–Tamara Mitchell

     If you are contemplating divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or recently divorced, you probably know what it’s like to feel emotionally sick and at loose ends.  It’s like driving a car when a wheel comes off.  Your life is out of control, and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

     For starters, there’s shock.  The authors say when they ask teenagers if they will get married, many hands go up.  When they ask them if they will get divorced, no one raises a hand.  That’s where you are—facing something you never expected.

The Shock of Divorce

     This shock is like having a tornado destroy your house or getting fired from a job you thought you’d retire from.  The range of emotions you face is staggering: loneliness, guilt, rejection, fear, anger, grief, relief, denial…

     If you pick up Rebuilding and start reading, you may want to give up.  Why?  Because opposite Chapter One are 19 blocks stacked in a pyramid. These blocks represent the authors’ 19-step process of adjustment to the loss of a love.

     Are you kidding?  That’s what you’ll want to ask.  Phone numbers have only seven digits, and sometimes I can’t even remember them.  But 19 steps?  How could I ever do that?

Praised by nearly everyone who uses it to start over.

Well, you can, and if you do, it will set up the future successes in your life—not just in relationships, but in life. 

That’s a bold statement but this is a book praised by nearly everyone who has used it to start over after a divorce.  There are so many aspects to getting through divorce, you need a thorough examination of how and why it happened.  If you don’t look at everything, you're likely to repeat this experience. 

But follow this process and your self-confidence will improve.  This book will change the way you look at yourself and the future.

The authors’ rebuilding blocks look like a mountain.  “As you climb,” they say, “you’ll discover tremendous personal growth is possible, despite the emotional trauma you’ve experienced from the ending of your love relationship.”  

This is a wise book, recommended with one reservation (mentioned below).

From Rebuilding:

--“Many people marry for the wrong reasons, among them 1) to overcome loneliness, 2) to escape an unhappy parental home, 3) because they think that everyone is expected to marry, 4)  because only “losers” who can’t find someone to marry stay single, 5) out of a need to parent, or be parented by another person, 6) because they got pregnant, 7) because ‘we fell in love,’ …and on goes the list.”

--“There is a common fear of becoming a divorced person.  What will people think?  They’ll discover what a failure I am.  If I can’t work out the problems in my love relationship, what is there left for me.”

--“Research is showing today that maybe a third of children whose parents divorced are doing above average in school and adjustment, another third are doing about average, and one-third are doing below average.  In contrast, children who are living in a two-parent dysfunctional family are almost all doing below average.”

Appendix B carries Bruce Fisher’s byline.  It contains a very ill-considered statement.  “When a relationship is not working as well as it should, both parties are equally responsible for the malfunctions.”  (Italics from the book) 

That statement is untrue.  The author threw something in the book which doesn’t belong, and he got it wrong.  Despite all his understanding, Bruce still had one significant misapprehension in his head.

Wayne & Tamara do not endorse this view.  When one party breaks a contract, both parties are not responsible. 

The authors’ statement will be interpreted by some in a way which hands a victim back to the victimizer.  Many situations—including sexual or verbal or emotional abuse, controlling behavior and alcoholism, among others—call for termination.  They do not involve equal responsibility either in creation or in termination.

In addition, Appendices B and C are on the “Healing Separation" and don’t belong in a book about starting over after divorce. (Refers to 3rd edition of this book)

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