Title: The Ghost Marriage
Author: Kirsten Mickelwait
Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 10 minutes
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Read Start Date: April 23, 2022
Read Finish Date: April 26, 2022
Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: At thirty-one, Kirsten has just returned to San Francisco from a bohemian year in Rome, ready to pursue a serious career as a writer and eventually, she hopes, marriage and family. When she meets Steve Beckwith, a handsome and successful attorney, she begins to see that future materialize more quickly than she’d dared to expect.
Twenty-two years later, Steve has turned into someone quite different. Unemployed and addicted to opioids, he uses money and their two children to emotionally blackmail Kirsten. What’s more, he’s been having an affair with their real estate agent, who is also her close friend. So she divorces him–but after their divorce is finalized, Steve is diagnosed with colon cancer and dies within a year, leaving Kirsten with $1.5 million in debts she knew nothing about. It’s then that she finally understands: The man she’d married was a needy, addictive person who came wrapped in a shiny package.
As she fights toward recovery, Kirsten begins to receive communications from Steve in the afterlife–which lead her on an unexpected path to forgiveness. The Ghost Marriage is her story of discovery — that life isn’t limited to the tangible reality we experience on this earth, and that our worst adversaries can become our greatest teachers.
My Review: I received this audiobook as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I definitely connected with this woman, as I too was married to someone who, at the end of our marriage, I could barely recognize. Steve, the author’s husband, was a real jerk, who seemed to delight in antagonizing her. This book must have been cathartic to write for the author, as there were many stories of how Steve screwed the author over. By the end of the book I hated this guy’s guts. How the author could stand this man for decades is beyond me! Nevertheless, the book is thankfully not written in a whiny woe is me style — it is eloquent and narrative and kept me engaged and interested.
I was all set to give this book 5 stars, until I got to the last portion of the book. It really made me angry that the author (after seeing a psychic) came to believe that the ill treatment she endured at the hands of her husband was a “gift” from him because it taught her valuable life lessons which will help her in her next life after reincarnation. She believes now that they had a “soul contract” where the author agreed to be treated like a doormat. Give me a freaking break. Barf. I just don’t get it. It’s as though the act of dying makes this guy a saint all of a sudden.
I’m all for forgiving someone their transgressions in order to move on or whatever, but it just felt like she went beyond that to actually excusing and/or even JUSTIFYING his bad behavior. This was a real turnoff to me and is why I gave only 4 stars instead of 5. Emotional abuse is absolutely not ok, and never should be excused. But since this was only the very last portion of the book, I would say the book is worth the read anyway…just feel free to skip the ending!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.