Broken Hearts... Healing
edited by
Tom Worthen, Ph.D.
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Broken Hearts... Healing:
Young Poets Speak Out
on Divorce

Tom Worthen, Ph.D., editor
illus. Kyle Hernandez
Poet Tree Press
June 2001
234 pages
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

The poignant poems collected in Broken Hearts... Healing ought to be required reading for every couple contemplating ending their marriage, and should certainly be used to help children from broken families know that they are not alone in their hurting. Ruthlessly honest and heartbreaking, the poems are outpourings of grief and resignation from children of divorced parents. The poets, ranging in ages from nine to eighteen, capture the raw emotions that divorce wrings out of the children it affects. Illustrations by third-grade Utah artist Kyle Hernandez add to the sense of innocence lost too soon.

I am a worried kid whose parents are divorced/
I constantly wonder if what I'm doing is best for me/
I hear the tortured cries from within my own body and soul/
I see that I'm a nuclear explosion of misery and sorrow/
I want for all of the pain to end now/
I am a worried kid whose parents are divorced
   (fragment from "I Am" by Andrew, Age 12)

Tom Worthen's Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication makes him a likely choice for editor of such a book. His credentials as a man trying to be "the best divorced dad he can be" to his three children makes him the perfect choice. In his "foreword for parents," Worthen says

Divorce is a process. In the legal context it is a single event. To the individuals involved, divorce is a continuing cycle of love, hate, pain, fear and endless other emotions...I found that what often makes divorce most devastating is how the parents act and react toward each other and the children.
Although such an observation seems blatantly obvious, still parents use their children in their private battles; still parents abandon their children when they leave a marriage. Perhaps Worthen sums up the importance to children of divorce of having a book like Broken Hearts... Healing in his "foreword for the youth":
"Divorce sucks." Having your parents end their marriage changes your whole world. But you are not alone.
From the uncertainty of suddenly being in a family split apart to the frustration of being trapped between two warring adults to the heartbreak of abandonment when a non-custodial parent leaves for good, these young authors' poems speak eloquently to both their peers and their parents.
The parents went on with their lives,/
The child grew with tears in her eyes./
Eleven years later and they don't care,/
That the child feels like they're never there./
The parents never knew,/
That the child was broken in two.
   (fragment from "The Child" by Nikki, Age 13)

© 2001 by Sharon Schulz-Elsing for Curled Up With a Good Book

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