If you were to ask me to choose a "D word" to reflect my thoughts on "The D Word" by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, the first one I would come up with would be "delightful." A strange word since the topic of divorce (covered in this novel) is anything but. However, the writing style and characters were the reason I chose such a word.
Jordan is a spiritual counselor who ironically fails to see the demise of her own marriage. Elle is a journalist who covers single's events and is recovering from the fact that her engagement is over, all thanks to her own doing (or un-doing in this case). They're soon connected by Kevin, Jordan's ex-husband and their son Max. The connection is shaky at best, as jealousies surmount and no one knows who to trust anymore. Both women have to make some choices in their lives, as a result, some being more difficult than others.
I was amazed at the ease at which I was drawn into this story. From the very beginning, I was captivated by how relatable both Elle and Jordan were, regardless of how much or little I had in common with either of them. Even though I had never been in their shoes (and never would want to be in some circumstances), I could feel exactly what they were feeling and understand what they were going through, along with the impact of their decisions. The dialogue and inner monologues were thoughtful and comfortable at the same time. There were some pop culture references, which I always enjoy, and even some humor. I even like that they made Max seem realistic without going overboard (some authors write kids to sound like they need major speech therapy, but Liz and Lisa thankfully did not go this route!) I also loved that I didn't know who to cheer for more. Each woman was presented in two different ways, which made the story even more intriguing! I'd be siding with Jordan in one chapter and with Elle in the next. Liz and Lisa even found a way to make me cringe during the incredibly awkward or intense moments. I could also feel their excitement and pain throughout this novel.
While I think highly of these writers and this novel, there are some things that concerned me while I was reading. The first was an issue of timing. Some other authors are guilty of this as well, but leave it to me to be overly-detailed when it comes to the representation of time in a novel. In one instance, they implied that Jordan had graduated high school in 1990, and yet they were saying she was 32 in what was assumed to be 2010 or 2011. That means she would have graduated in the late 90's instead. Then there was a time when someone said two nights had passed after an event but then later went on to say that the same event happened the night before. Finally, in regards to time placement, I felt there were almost too many flashback scenes and sometimes they didn't transition so smoothly into the present, leaving me confused. The only other issue I had was that there were some minor errors that should have been caught before going to print. I believe I have the final copy of the story, since this is an e-book.
The only thing I would have liked to see was Kevin's perspective. I felt the same way when reading "Heart of the Matter" and wanting to hear from Nick. Liz and Lisa tossed in some extra character perspectives every once in a while, but I almost felt they were out of place and could have easily fit in somewhere else as dialogue instead of little inner monologues. If they were to continue doing it that way, it would have been interesting to hear Max's perspective too. Especially since they were so good at writing a child's voice to begin with. I also wouldn't have complained if they wrote one character in first person and one in third person. It would have worked well, as I sometimes got thrown off by both characters being written in first person, especially when they interacted. I'd occasionally have to go back to the beginning of the chapter to see who was the main focus. If Emily Giffin can do it (again, "Heart of the Matter"), then I know Liz and Lisa can, as well.
Speaking of Emily Giffin, I felt this novel had a quality to it that reminded me of her storytelling prowess. Yet, it still had a unique feel to it and kept me guessing to the very last page. My best friend and I could only hope to write such a beautiful and heartbreaking story that flows so perfectly with two minds contributing the entire time. I've already recommended this novel to my best friend, as well as to all the other chick lit fans I know. And I will continue to recommend it. I look forward to the next story that Liz and Lisa produce and I have a feeling they won't disappoint at all.
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This is also available as an e-book for 99 cents on Amazon. And they're also giving it away (as an e-book) at CLC!