cover image Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce

Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce

Elizabeth Marquardt, , foreword by Judith Wallerstein. . Crown, $24.95 (255pp) ISBN 978-0-307-23710-1

There's no such thing as a "good divorce," argues Marquardt, a scholar with the Institute for American Values. Divorce harms children for the rest of their lives, she says; it turns them into "little adults" who anxiously protect their fragile parents, instead of being protected, the way they are in "intact" families. Divorce forces children to guard parental secrets—protecting Mom by not telling Dad, or vice versa. At increased risk from pedophilic attacks (from their mothers' boyfriends or new husbands) and substance abuse, "children of divorce" may also feel alienated from organized religion, although Marquardt's survey finds them more likely to feel their spirituality strengthened by adversity. Marquardt says she's based her book on her own experiences as a child of divorce and on the results of a "nationally representative survey," yet her own bias strongly colors this work. Intact-family envy—the kids with parents sit in the front pews at church, while the children of divorce sit alone in the back, eyeing them; a 20-something Marquardt "sobbing" as she tries to decide which of her divorced parents will walk her down the wedding aisle—permeates this feisty tract. Agent, Carol Mann. (On sale Sept. 27)