Calling It Quits: Late Life Divorce and Starting Over

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9780786754885: Calling It Quits: Late Life Divorce and Starting Over
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Some gave the usual reasons: “He traded me in for a trophy wife younger than our daughter,” or “We had nothing in common anymore,” or I couldn’t take his ...{fill in the blank – gambling, drinking, womanizing].” But I also heard a lot of stories from men and women who I though lived comfortable, contented lives in financially secure marriages and who said that they didn’t care what the future might hold, that they divorced because they could not go on living the same old life in the same old rut with the same old boring person. I heard a lot of remarks that all came down to one word: freedom.-- From Calling it Quits

This is the first book to reveal the truth about the exploding phenomenon of late-life divorce, which has resulted in a seismic shift in modern relationships. Now, in a finger-on-the-pulse examination of this growing trend, Deirdre Bair, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the National Book Award, explores the many reasons why older, long-married couples suddenly decide to break up. Having conducted nearly four hundred interviews with ex-wives, ex-husbands, and their adult children, Bair reveals some of the surprising motivations that lead to these drastic late-life splits, as well as the unexpected turns life takes for all concerned after the divorce is final. 

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About the Author:

Deirdre Bair is the critically acclaimed author of four previous works of nonfiction. She received the National Book Award for Samuel Beckett: A Biography, and her biographies of Anaïs Nin and Simone de Beauvoir were also prize finalists. Her biography of C. G. Jung was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and received the Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. She has been awarded fellowships from (among others) the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She has been a literary journalist and university professor of comparative literature and now divides her time between New York and Connecticut.

From Publishers Weekly:

The inspiration for this book came from a magazine survey on late-life divorce in AARP that Bair came across in her dentist's waiting room. It hit a chord with Bair, whose own marriage had ended in divorce after 43 years, and she set out to find the stories behind the statistics. Bair, an award-winning literary biographer (Samuel Beckett), turned her sights on a group of men, women and adult children who have been affected by late-life divorce. She found that more divorces were initiated by women, which puts into question the assumptions both that men always leave for younger women and that ex-wives seldom find love again. But the several hundred North Americans and Europeans Bair talked to hardly constitute what she terms a "social earthquake." Nor does Bair offer any advice or answers as to why some long-term marriages go on the rocks. (Curiously, the divorce she stands to have the most insight into—her own—she is less than forthcoming about.) Bair's intent is simply to ask questions in the hope of furthering a dialogue on the subject. Readers will not find answers, but those going through a late-life divorce will encounter personal stories, all-too human ones, that they will identify with. (Jan. 30)
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