Books | Sarah Hampson

9780307397690Happily ever after are still the fairytale words that many newlyweds aspire to, despite the independence so many women have achieved, and despite the evidence that happiness in marriage is rarely possible without heaps of compromise and a lot of hard work. Even when two people have tried, divorce seems to be the only solution sometimes 38% of Canadian couples, despite great effort and painful consequences, never make it to their thirtieth anniversary.

When Sarah Hampson began her Generation Ex column for The Globe and Mail she could not predict the incredible response it would receive. Despite divorce being everywhere and touching everyone, it is still a taboo subject that most choose not to discuss. The dream of a happy life, so intertwined with marriage, is always the goal, with divorce a glaring, unsightly sign that the dream has ended and our lives have not followed the cultural script.

Sarah herself embraced what traditional marriage has to offer. But after eighteen years of marriage, Sarah and her husband called it quits, leaving her to raise three boys while working to reestablish her career. Here Sarah bracingly and humanely exposes the story of her own life (from her childish dreams to midlife renewal) and those of the people around her (including a visit to Leonard Cohen!) to bring this hidden subject to light. Her sharing of these stories, the finding of common concerns and voicing them, has helped her many faithful readers begin to move beyond the d-word. Sarah shows it is possible not only to recover from divorces messiness and useless anger, but also to use divorce to forge a new identity in mid-life a time that used to be considered too late for such profound change.

Candid, humorous, and full of fascinating stories, Happily Ever After Marriage is part modern guide, part passionate conversation with friends and part meditation on what can be seen as a new rite of passage to self-actualization in mid-life. By bravely examining her own life, she brings clarity to the underlying cultural messages that inform the choices we make and shows how better choices and hard-won confidence can lead to paths that we may never seen before.

“Sarah Hampson’s book on the upside of divorce is like having a glass of wine (or two) with your girlfriends: it offers good medicine, laughter and hope.”

Marni Jackson, author of “Home Free: The Myth of the Empty Nest” and “The Mother Zone”