Motherhood is an ever-present theme in the background of Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce, but the most vibrant thread is personal truth. When Stacey Morrison’s husband Chris decides to pull out of their marriage, she has a newborn baby, is applying for the job of Editor in Chief of Redbook magazine, and has just purchased a house that will soon prove to be a leaking, broken monstrosity, the perfect allegory for her unsuccessful union with Chris. Morrison carefully describes the path her heart takes as, over the next two years, she does her very best (which is sometimes better than others) to remain open, loving, and teachable while walking through fire. She sees parts of herself that she doesn’t want to see, but gradually faces them, and slowly learns to accept that taking control isn’t always the best way for her; that seeking her truth is more important that achieving her dreams.
Morrison’s style is a little mushy for me at times, but I couldn’t put the book down, because this was a hard journey and she took it in such a respectable, honest way. I wanted badly to see her come out the other side, as the title promised, in one piece. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s facing divorce, afraid of divorce, or divorced. But I also recommend it to people who are staying married, because the union Stacey and Chris achieve in the end — unmarried, but partnered as parents — is healthier than many a marriage, and a great example to us all.