Picks and Pans Review: The Honeymoon's Over

updated 02/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Andrea Chapin and Sally Wofford-Girand



Many women will recognize themselves in this collection of 22 essays about love, marriage and divorce, though the writing–and wisdom–is uneven. Terry McMillan's raunchy riposte to her ex, who notoriously came out on Oprah, seethes with still-hot anger–it's embarrassing to read. But Joyce Maynard's deconstruction of her divorce brims with hard-won self-knowledge. Among the best entries is Ann Hood's wrenching account of the death of her 5-year-old daughter Grace (she spiked a fever and died 36 hours later), in which Hood tracks her evolution from someone who would run from unpleasantness to a woman who sees "the virtue, the necessity, of staying." (Hood's new novel, reviewed below, expands on those themes.) If there's common ground among these diverse essays, it's that even the women who stayed married admitted to unloving thoughts. As one essayist puts it: "Divorce? Never. Homicide often."

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