Book Review: The Split
Two decades on from a passionate courtship and marriage, Lucas and Esther are getting divorced.
For Esther, it’s proving hard not to feel bitter watching Lucas enjoying his successful career, not to mention the attentions of his gorgeous, intelligent, and predictably younger lover. She meanwhile is struggling to forge a new life for herself, navigating the pitfalls of modern dating, while trying not to despair at the cost of living as a single woman of a certain age.
Then Lucas faces a shattering accusation at the same time as their children Dylan and Lily, start to implode. When Dylan runs away, and as his father fights to save his reputation, Lucas and Esther find themselves back in each other’s lives, whether they like it or not.
Has too much water passed under the bridge, or will long-forgotten loyalties and feelings bring the family back together, just when they need each other the most? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
It seems that nearly every character within The Split is going through major changes in their lives. Not only has Esther attempted to move on after divorcing her husband, Lucas, but her children are at an age where she’ll become an empty nester soon. Lucas believes he has found happiness again, only to have it threatened by the accusation mentioned in the synopsis. Lily is dealing with an unbearable secret, while Dylan decides to run away from what has tethered him to his family. The reader witnesses the slow unraveling of various choices made by each character, and the eventual outcome of those choices.
I couldn’t help but feel for Esther. It appears as though she doesn’t have much support and has had to find a new way of life after the divorce. But it was nice to see the strength she has and how she endures, rediscovering herself. I could relate. I think many women can sort of lose themselves within their families and children, forgetting who they originally had been, and I could tell that she wanted to find some kind of balance between motherhood and newfound womanhood.
Lucas was a gruff character. He reminded me of my grandfather, who had a much softer side to him tucked deep inside, and it was only on rare occasions when you’d get a glimpse of it. There is a backstory connected to Lucas’s personality which made sense and gave me a deeper understanding of who Lucas is. He can’t be trusted because he can’t trust. The accusation he’s dealing with sent me back several pages, in order to re-read the events that led to everything, trying to figure out if what he went through was justified. To be honest, I’m still not sure, because I could see both sides to the situation.
Lily and Dylan had their own burdens to bear, yet given everything going on with their parents, the siblings chose to keep quiet. I thought the author did a great job of showing the slow burn that can happen when you are living with something that settles poorly on your psyche. Overall, The Split did that–showed what could happen if you choose to “live with” something instead of tackling it and moving on from it. All four characters have to figure it out, in order to find their way to one another again; in order to remain a family. It was an interesting look into quiet disarray, well written and expansive.