Book Review: Divorce Became My Superpower by Caroline Strawson

Here is the story of someone who went through the utter dregs of relationship misery, but managed to climb back up through self-harm and other manifestations of despair, working through her challenges and demons to get up again.

review of Caroline Strawson's book

Caroline Strawson: “Life felt like I was walking in treacle and never really moving forward.”

A relationship literally created up in the skies – and how it crash landed

In Caroline’s very detailed and meticulously catalogued style, we learn the whole autobiography of an experience no-one would wish on their worst enemy.

How she grew up in a happy family to be a respected, intelligent student and then moved on into some fascinating career roles.

How she met her first husband through their mutually glamorous roles as cabin crew on international airlines. Her marriage, her first baby … and then things begin to slide.

Four miscarriages in a row: enough to dishearten anyone?

With building tension between Caroline and her spouse, they kept seeking that so-much wanted second baby and finally succeeded at try number 5. Little Grace, a sister for Harry, arrived to delight all around.

But nagging doubts about her marriage crept in. She and her husband became strangers under the same roof. Was it due to the stress of the miscarriages? Was it due to her becoming more “domesticated” than her husband had been used to? Or would it have happened anyway, through drifting apart?

We see the gradual lowering of her self-esteem, her slipping beauty routines because she thought “she was only a mum,” her husband’s longer and longer absences on “business.”

A rough road of deceit, cheating and horrible truths

Almost every moment of Caroline’s journey is recorded in this book and as you read through it, you begin to see the writing on the wall long before she did. Needless to say her husband had been cheating on her for some considerable time, and after months of what must have been agonising vacillation, packs his belongings and leaves.

But that was only the beginning.

From there on Caroline went through a vile downward spiral of financial ruin, repossession of her house, anxiety attacks, self-harming, shame, humiliation, and much, much more. Even some so-called “friends” managed to kick her while she was down.

And all the while she was ensuring that her beloved children had everything they needed – even when there wasn’t enough money for Caroline herself to eat – and were happy, comfortable and well-adjusted.

The struggle back up where she belongs

You can say what you like about network marketing, but for people who choose a reputable brand, do it diligently, work fiendishly hard and believe in what they’re doing, it can be a lifesaver.

In Caroline’s case, that’s how she got herself back on her feet and her family back on an even keel again, benefiting from the way she could adapt her working hours around her children’s needs.

Since then she has founded and started further businesses, including qualifying as one of the first accredited Divorce Coaches in the UK. She has married again and lives very happily in the south Midlands of England. And she is adamant that her experiences, bad as they were, have allowed her to lead an even stronger and more fulfilling life now than may have been possible before.

Middle class doesn’t mean meaningless

When you think about other women who have been through similar experiences but have suffered from physical violence and depravity as well, it would be easy to get the idea that Caroline’s struggle – though terrible – wasn’t as appalling as a more squalid example.

But as you know, focus is shifting very heavily today on to the severe and lasting damage emotional abuse can do. You can begin to understand that (apart from her self-harming) although Caroline’s wounds were mainly emotional, the scars, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks and other stubborn hangovers from the experience will take much longer to heal than black eyes or broken limbs.

What makes this book unusual and especially interesting

Caroline’s book is self-published and the narrative is entirely conversational, apparently without the constraints of editing which may have removed some of its personality and uniqueness. In every line you can hear Caroline talking to you, describing every ghastly thing that happened, the good things that ensued much later, and even quite a few funny and lovable things which she generously includes.

It’s a personal record that is already ringing many, many bells in other women’s minds about the silent villains that seep into personal and family relationships. It will serve as a valuable warning to people in similar circumstances on what to look out for – what to avoid.

divorce can be a superpower

And more importantly, of course, it gives other women an excellent example of how the awfulness of such an experience can be overcome, and how to fire themselves with new energy to find happiness again.

Divorce Became My Superpower
A story of divorce, debt and depression to one of hope, happiness and superpower

by Caroline Strawson

On all the Amazons

UK: Kindle (£2.99) and print (£10.99)