Chick lit novels to read after a divorce?
September 27, 2017 9:14 AM   Subscribe

I find myself 30 years old, separating from my unfaithful husband, and moving back to my midwest hometown. I want a comforting and uplifting chick lit novel that will show me everything will be okay.

My husband broke up with me this week. He was being unfaithful and apparently has never had true romantic feelings for me. This came completely as a shock to everyone in our life, including me. My husband and I were going to buy a house in the spring and we were going to start trying for a baby in December.

So now I’m 30 and moving back to the my midwest where I grew up and where my family still lives. My world feels totally upside down as I try to find peace in suddenly being single, 30, and starting over.

I need some good chick lit with a character storyline involving most of these things:
- Being newly single in her 30s or 40s
- Finding independence as a single woman
- Moving to a new city or moving back to her hometown and starting over
- No romantic storyline, unless it’s treated as a minor side plot

The general mood of the book should be uplifting, positive, and feminine. Nothing too heady or poetic. Just a fun, light read that makes me feel better about this lousy situation.
posted by daisies to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Where the Heart Is has all of that except the protag is 17 and not 30. It's about accepting and dealing with what life gives you and creating a family from friends.
posted by phunniemee at 9:24 AM on September 27, 2017

Sorry you're going through a rough time :c glad you're looking to be kind to yourself!

Barbara Kingsolver is my favorite strong-woman author. I love Prodigal Summer especially.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I'm so sorry.

Good in Bed and In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner don't hit every aspect of your criteria, but a lot of them. The descriptions of the protagonists' devastation and heartbreak and feelings of being completely adrift after their relationships ended rang very true to me.

There is a little romance at the end of each, but the focus is largely on the process of rebuilding their lives, drawing unexpected support from family and friends, and their paths to finding happiness again.
posted by anderjen at 9:35 AM on September 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

never had true romantic feelings for me is probably BS cover for i know I'm being an utter asshole and I'm throwing shit to distract myself. I like Elizabeth Buchan, but her characters are a bit older.
posted by theora55 at 10:30 AM on September 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

No recent divorce or breakup and probably isn't officially chick lit, but based on all your other criteria, you may be in exactly the right place for Cold Comfort Farm.
posted by Mchelly at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You need some Jennifer Crusie in your life. I read and reread her a lot because of the real characters and great dialogue. My favorites are Faking It, Welcome to Temptation, and Fast Women. Some of them which might speak more directly to you:

Fast Women. Nell Dysart's in trouble. Weighed down by an inexplicable divorce and a loss of appetite for everything, Nell is sleepwalking through life until her best friend finagles a job for her with a shabby little detective agency that has lots of potential and a boss who looks easy to manage.

Getting Rid of Bradley. High school physics teacher Lucy Savage is finally getting rid of Bradley--and his hideous green recliner. In fact, her front lawn is littered with her cheating ex-husband's belongings. Because despite standing her up in divorce court, Bradley is out of her life for good. Or so she thinks.

Crazy for You. On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie changes her life. On Thursday, she tries to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody does.
Quinn McKenzie has always lived what she calls a "beige" life. She has a good job as a high school art teacher, and she's surrounded by family and friends who rely on her. She's dating Bill, coach of the championship high school football and baseball teams and all-around perfect guy. It's a perfectly happy and secure life, and she's bored to the point of insanity.
posted by PussKillian at 10:46 AM on September 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Just in case you're in need of a movie, Under The Tuscan Sun is exactly this. One minor romance, but it's a side plot, not the main event. It has the added bonus of gorgeous Italian scenery to add to the happy.

It does seem to be based on a book, but looks like that's maybe a real-life account rather than a chick lit novel.

Wishing you well, this stinks.
posted by penguin pie at 1:14 PM on September 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the book Under the Tuscan Sun is Italy/house renovation porn. Fun, but the movie is the romance (and pretty scenery.)
posted by PussKillian at 1:39 PM on September 27, 2017

But the film's not a romance per se! There is a minor, short-lived romance post-divorce, but that's just one of many storylines. Don't let it put you off...
posted by penguin pie at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2017

Best answer: Heartburn, by Nora Ephron. Exactly what you need. The book, not the film.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:25 PM on September 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't have any specific books with the plot you want AND avoids romance (I can say from previous experience that it is very hard to find fiction with no romances), but might I recommend a chick lit author/podcaster named Lani Diane Rich who is going through the same thing? Her Big Strong Yes podcast in particular, particularly the "Rising Strong" episodes, may be something you relate to. I suspect in another year or so she'll come out with a book that fits your credentials, the way things are going.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:02 PM on September 27, 2017

A Woman Alone
posted by le_salvo at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2017

Watermelon, by Marian Keyes (it does have a romantic storyline sorry but I feel that's just frosting for the bigger, enjoyable rest-of-the-story)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:37 PM on September 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not sure if they are lighthearted enough, but Eat, Pray, Love and Wild might be good reads.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 10:30 PM on September 27, 2017

Came to say Heartburn by Nora Ephron- it got me through a horrible breakup and made me laugh and cry at the same time.
posted by Dwardles at 3:19 AM on September 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, I still make the vinaigrette from Heartburn. And watch the movie.
posted by theora55 at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2017

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