Not a Dr. Logan’s Divorce Book, by Sydney Salter (2014, Character Publishing), $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-9890797-5-4
Recommended for ages 8-13
Eleven-year-old Logan’s parents have split up, turning her life upside down. Her father has already moved on and is dating; she and her mother have relocated from their house to a small apartment, and she’s feeling left behind by her friends, her father’s family – even her father, himself. Logan’s mom immerses herself in the teachings of a self-help author/TV host, Dr. Donna; Logan finds Dr. Donna quotes taped up all over her home. To combat her feelings of helplessness and frustration, Logan begins her own (Not a) Doctor Logan’s Divorce Book, part journal, part book of lists for dealing with the hurdles of being a child of divorce, all survival guide for kids.
I did not expect this book to bowl me over as hard as it did. Like half the country, I’m a child of divorce. Although my parents split when I was 18, rather than 11, I went through many of the same emotional upheavals and experienced so many of the same feelings that Logan describes – especially the feelings of anger and frustration with the parent that left. Ms. Salter covers the depression one parent experiences, and the almost teen-like personality the other parent takes on – how is a kid supposed to deal with this? She also manages to find the humor in every situation, from Logan’s botched “love magic” that she hopes will reunite her parents, to her idea that shirking her schoolwork will reunite her parents, albeit in the principal’s office. We take Logan’s journey with her, and see her through to the other side, when things just may get better after all.
The story, written in the first person, allows readers to place themselves in Logan’s shoes. Illustrations by Chelsea Eaton give firmer shape to the story, and I loved the journal entries, complete with notebook spiral rings. Different fonts help emphasize Logan’s writing versus her overall narrative.
Book discussion questions at the end are helpful to both book discussion groups and parents who may want to read this book with their kids, letting the questions lead them into deeper conversations about any life changes going on. There are also links to divorce resources for children and parents alike.
Sydney Salter dedicates the book to us readers, and to her nine-year-old self. My 40-something self thanks her for it. I’ll be getting this on the shelves at my library, where kids who need it will be able to find it.
The author’s webpage includes a Q&A, discussion questions about her other books, links to her social media, and a link to her blog.