Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Becoming the Ex-Wife:
Best thing that ever happened to her.
The story of author Ursula Parrott who popularized the term “ex-wife.”
Fact for Non-History People:
A 1930s study found that 94% of women believed divorce should be the solution for an unhappy marriage but only 54% approved if there were children.
Fact for History Nerds:
Divorce laws during this time period were drastically different from state to state. New York only allowed divorce due to adultery. Nevada had 8 possible reasons.
My Take on Becoming the Ex-Wife:
There are certain books which catch you completely by surprise. Marsha Gordon’s “Becoming the Ex-Wife” is one of those books. Her subject, writer Ursula Parrott, had the type of life which would fit perfectly within our current environment where celebrities rise and fall and rise again seemingly on a daily basis. Parrott, however, did all of this during the first half of the 1900s when people generally fell into obscurity never to rise again. Oh, and let’s not forget that Parrott was a woman when having a career at all was a rarity. She certainly never forgot when she was writing.
Gordon does an excellent job of telling Parrott’s story because she balances her admiration with the right amount of critical eye. The book is well written and is as thorough as possible. Gordon has to jump around in time a bit to keep focus on specific aspects of Parrott but it’s never distracting which is no small feat. In fact, I’d say the only possible weakness in this book is the subject herself. Parrott was complicated, like many people, but she was also a contradiction in many ways. If you enjoy your heroes/heroines to be nearly blemish free, then I think you will find Parrott to be downright enraging at various points of her life. If you can accept that a human can be both good and bad in various measures while finding their life story interesting, then you will enjoy this book immensely.
(This book was provided as an advance copy.)
A great look at an often-overlooked time period. Buy it here!
If You Liked This Try:
- Nell McShane Wulfhart, The Great Stewardess Rebellion
- Kate Moore, The Woman They Could Not Silence
- Claire Harman, Charlotte Bronte
- Charlotte Gordon, Romantic Outlaws
- Karen Abbott, Liar Temptress Soldier Spy