Spoiled Children of Divorce

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Jennifer Weiner
July 7, 2008, 8:24 am
Filed under: Books, Exemplary Children of Divorce, links to articles

Jennifer Weiner is a very successful writer.  She has written a number of Chick Lit style books, like In Her Shoes and Little Earthquakes.  Weiner was the oldest of four children.  When she was 16 her Father left and she apparently spent much of her college years writing sad and miserable stories about her parents’ Divorce. I wonder if those still exist.

At any rate, Weiner doesn’t forget her “roots” in the Divorce Hell and quite nicely offers advice and hope to young Children of D:

“1. The Unhappy Childhood

The big joke in the publishing community is that smart editors shouldn’t waste their time at lunches or conferences, but should instead proceed directly to the local elementary schools. There, they will carefully note the boys picked last in gym class, the girls sitting alone in the cafeteria – all of the outcasts, misfits, geeks, dweebs and weirdos – and give them some kind of small identifying tag (much like wildlife services will tag animals to follow their progress through the years). Twenty years later, the editors should track down the kids they’ve tagged, now hopefully grown to more successful adulthood, and say, “Okay, where’s the book?”

Why do unhappy kids grow up to be writers? I think because being an outsider – a geek, a dweeb, a weirdo, a smart, mouthy girl or boy who just doesn’t fit in – means that you’re naturally equipped for observing life carefully. You’re not on the inside, you’re on the outside – and nobody’s a more careful, dedicated observer of life than a kid or teenager who’s trying to figure out how to finally fit in with the in-crowd.

Also (and this is totally my own take on things, unproven by any kind of study or research), but I think that kids whose parents are divorced, separated, single, or otherwise un-Cleaver-ish might have a slight edge over those who grew up in happily-married homes. For kids, divorce is a mystery, a puzzle that begs to be put back together – what went wrong? Was it my fault? Can Humpty Dumpty be put back together again? All of these questions reinforce the powers of observation, the questioning spirit, the impulse to try to make sense of life that can lead to becoming a writer. Or a mass murderer, I guess, but hopefully a writer instead. So if you’re a would-be writer whose parents are divorced, be happy. If you’re married, and a parent, and trying to turn your kid into a writer, please don’t break up just because I said so. Because by the time our theoretical young writer has figured out that fitting in with the in-crowd isn’t a consummation devoutly to be wished, and has given up trying to make sense of Why Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, it will be time for…..

from http://www.jenniferweiner.com/forwriters.htm

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