For Elif Ekin, divorce isn’t so much an ending as a long, fitful journey, beset with soaring expectations, false starts and painful encounters. In meticulous, journal-style detail, she shares the bad, the good, and the yet-to-be in Mostly Happy: A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Journey Through Divorce.
Ekin began the process to end her 10-year marriage in May 2010 with her first call to a divorce lawyer: “Calling that number feels akin to removing the safety from the grenade,” she writes as she thereby blasts apart her life, and the lives of Hakan, her Turkish-born husband, and their 3-year old daughter, Mina. An American of Turkish descent, Ekin also grapples with cross-cultural implications. In love’s early throes, she promised Hakan that someday they would return to Turkey to live. They never did, which he resents. Instead, they drifted apart, even as they built a well-to-do American life, punctuated by Turkish vacations to visit his overprotective family.
Ekin writes with intelligence and sensitivity, although she occasionally falls into journaling’s trap of self-absorbed complaining: “I just don’t want to be married anymore,” she writes, in varying ways, more than once. As she tells it, the dying marriage is all Hakan’s fault, especially his tin-eared inability to grasp her unhappiness. Mina, precocious and bilingual, sides with Mom.
The book is chock-full of Ekin’s plans for “self actualization.” Will she become a day trader, a personal chef, or perhaps found an environmental group in Turkey? Will she move forward with an old flame, or with a family friend also struggling with divorce? The might-do list is long Does she end up mostly happy? Appears so. The journey, she writes, led to “what I needed for me.”
Although the author’s narrative is too self-absorbed to appeal to general readers, women considering, or who are already on, the journey of divorce may find meaningful insights and coping details here. Ekin also includes a list of “books that helped” for further reference.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.