cover image Calling It Quits: Late-Life Divorce and Starting Over

Calling It Quits: Late-Life Divorce and Starting Over

Deirdre Bair, . . Random, $24.95 (326pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6448-9

The inspiration for this book came from a magazine survey on late-life divorce in AARP that Bair came across in her dentist's waiting room. It hit a chord with Bair, whose own marriage had ended in divorce after 43 years, and she set out to find the stories behind the statistics. Bair, an award-winning literary biographer (Samuel Beckett ), turned her sights on a group of men, women and adult children who have been affected by late-life divorce. She found that more divorces were initiated by women, which puts into question the assumptions both that men always leave for younger women and that ex-wives seldom find love again. But the several hundred North Americans and Europeans Bair talked to hardly constitute what she terms a "social earthquake." Nor does Bair offer any advice or answers as to why some long-term marriages go on the rocks. (Curiously, the divorce she stands to have the most insight into—her own—she is less than forthcoming about.) Bair's intent is simply to ask questions in the hope of furthering a dialogue on the subject. Readers will not find answers, but those going through a late-life divorce will encounter personal stories, all-too human ones, that they will identify with. (Jan. 30)