Reviewed by Lia Constanda
The writer of “A Heart with Two Homes”, Monica Epperson is the CEO and co-founder of the organization “The child of divorce, Inc” (formerly known as “Blended Love, Inc.”) along with her husband Dr. Brian Epperson. They are both educators.
Published in 2008, “A Heart with Two Homes” generated a lot of discussion amongst professionals working with children who acknowledged the need for resources for the growing numbers of children of divorce. Responding to this Monica founded “The child of divorce, Inc”, a nonprofit making organization, which she funded from donating the royalties from her book. Helping children of divorce is the mission of the organization. “A Heart with Two Homes” is its first work that later led to forming a committee charged with writing research based curriculum for students and teachers.
The book is about a little girl called Elizabeth, whose parents divorced when she was 8 yrs old. She continued to live with mom and had regular visits with dad. In both environments she assumed a different persona. When with mom, she was a little girl, enjoyed dancing and did girly things, to please mom. When with dad, she was a little tomboy, played sports and did boyish things, to please dad. As time went on she found it difficult to define her true self. She was confused: was she Lizzie, as mom called her, or was she Beth, as dad called her.
Eventually Elizabeth discovers with the help of a school guest speaker the benefit of writing therapy and later the benefit of sharing and talking openly about her feelings to friends and family. These processes help her confront her parents about their lack of communication as far as she was concerned. The book ends on a positive note, as the parents through their actions acknowledge their mistakes thus helping Elizabeth to find her true identity as a whole person and not as the two halves of one.
The book identifies some of the problems created by parents in divorce cases, such as a child’s emotional turmoil, confusion, insecurity, isolation, lack of trust, unresolved conflict, to name but some.
The book also offers options for the children of divorce on addressing their concerns about their feelings. The idea of a private Journal, where they could confide their most inner thoughts and feelings is eminently suited to those situations. It is a well known fact that one of the merits of writing is to help clarify thoughts. As the famous French writer Gustave Flaubert once said:"The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe." The idea of using a journal helped the little girl in this case to cope positively with change once she identified her true concerns and discovered what she really believed about herself.