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Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey Paperback – March 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first book, essayist Bram convincingly disputes the common belief that there's no life after divorce. At age 41, the mother of three young children, Bram was in a loveless marriage. But she was surrounded by people who insisted it would be hell on her and her children; even the marriage counselor she and her husband saw presented her with studies about the irrevocable trauma divorce inflicts on children. But Bram was out to prove them wrong, and in her memoir, she recounts the steps she built to create a new life and take joy in finding her own true self. Whether slogging through legal paperwork, arranging custodial visits or re-entering the world of romance, Bram put her sons first, and they all came through intact. For anyone facing divorce, Bram's frank and optimistic tale shows that one can not only survive divorce but thrive in the new possibilities life will offer. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Jessica Bram is an award-winning commentator and essayist.  Her radio commentaries which are heard on the Fairfield, Connecticut, NPR station, twice (in 2006 and 2008) earned her first prize in the radio commentary category of the Society of Professional Journalists, Connecticut Chapter's 'Excellence in Journalism' contest.  Her work, which includes the widely syndicated essay 'Beauty Calls,' published in the New York Times Magazine's HERS column, has appeared in many national and regional magazines and newspapers. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (February 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757307582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757307584
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Maria E. Andreu on May 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
It was the title that first attracted me: Happily Ever After Divorce. As someone who once bought a decorative pillow with the words "Happily Ever After" embroidered in demure cream, and tossed it on my marital bed hoping that the pillow would make that wish could true, I keenly felt the pain of thinking that my own impending divorce would kill my dreams of happily ever after.

Jessica Bram, a witty and honest writer, is here to tell you that there's a lot people aren't telling you about your divorce, and most of it is actually pretty good news.

Ms. Bram doesn't sugar-coat the pain, fear and confusion that come through the process of tearing one home into two. In there are all the gut-wrenching legal battles that feel so much like being under seige, the guilt at what she's doing to her children, the anger at the man who was supposed to love her forever now turning into an enemy. But the resounding message throughout each lovely chapter is, "I made it, and so can you." It is a genuinely uplifting book. By the time you get to the chapter "Friends With My Ex-Husband," you feel like although it can be dark during a divorce, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you're expecing a "how-to" of happy divorce, this isn't the book for you. It's a series of stand-alone first-person essays about one woman's experience. But in many ways, it's even better than a how-to. It's certainly more personal, touching and well-written. You feel like you're talking to a sister or old friend who has gone through what you're going through - and is here to let you know that everything will be okay.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Gibson on August 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
It was inspiring to encounter this memoir of/by Jessica Bram. Her story immediately walked off the page and into my thoughts and feelings. I was divorced many years ago, but I still wrestle with issues around the breaking up and making up of relationships. There i was in the coffee shop with her, doing the emails, making friends with the one I used to love, and finding I too could go on. One of the intriguing things about the book was the framing of each of the issues/moments in a separate chapter. I loved the titles--it meant i could easily return to a particular episode I wanted to re-experience. When i started the book, I began to read fast and furiously; it was as if I had been offered a sumptuous feast, lots of courses, none of which I could resist. But then I realized that the moments were even better when I slowed down and savored them, "consuming" only one--at most two--chapters at one reading session. It occurs to me as I write this, that Jessica's story would be especially good reading for folks who meet to share dilemmas about relationships.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Nye on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a book with a unique point of view: divorce doesn't have to be the worst experience of your life, and it can even lead to a joyful and fulfilling life. Although the author doesn't skimp on the challenges she faced in going through her divorce, her personal stories show her ability to overcome difficult times and emerge triumphant.

The book opens with the author, Jessica Bram, leaving her nineteen year marriage at the age of forty-one, with three young children. In her introduction, she admits that finding the courage to get out of her marriage was hard:

"Hard like childbirth, like building a skyscraper or perhaps demolishing one. As hard as any of the most formidable challenges I had ever faced -- every college or graduate school degree, every major disruption, every relocation, every turnaround.

But then, as after childbirth, a glorious new life emerged at this time, my own. After my divorce I emerged into sunlight, stunned and blinking. Disoriented, yes, and many, many times afraid. But only then did life begin. Only then did I start to piece together, for the first time ever, a life that had fresh air and laughter, challenges and triumphs. A life of outer joys and for the first time, inner peace.

I am here to say that it can be done."

In a refreshing down-to-earth writing style, Bram reveals how she coped with the rollercoaster of emotions as she went through the divorce process. She discusses how she raised her children in a loving atmosphere and worked with her ex-husband to be sure that they always acted in a way that was best for the children.

"How did these children of a painful, difficult divorce turn out?
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I finished the book last night and I must say this book is Pulitzer!

I have never in my 39 years of life read such realistic literary literature, ever!
This book, "Happily Ever After Divorce" is an exact replica of my life right now!
The only difference between this author's married life/divorce and mine is I'm African American, LOL!
After reading the book, I hated coming to the last page, it was that good!
I feel much better about my circumstances now after reading it and I'm encouraged to go to the end.
I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and it looks bright!!

Anyway, the climax in this book is on pg. 128 it reads," So despite my otherwise normally independent nature, I tended to be uncharacteristically complacent about allowing myself to be led around.......The relaxation afforded by not having to find my way around seemed well worth the surrender of autonomy"....... Absolutely Pulitzer!
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