Raw Edges: A Memoir

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When Phyllis Barber's thirty-three-year marriage disintegrated, she had to redefine herself as a woman, mother, and artist. She also had to reconcile the jarring dissonance between her idealistic Mormon vision of marriage as a relationship that would endure through all eternity, and the painful reality of mutual infidelities and disparate needs. Raw Edges is Barber's moving account of her journey through the 'lean years' that followed her divorce and her memories of a long, eventful marriage between two gifted and loving people. Barber's path to a new identity was rocky and often deeply troubled. There was a blighted cross-country bicycle trip; a tortured relationship with a drug addict; a second failed marriage; and, periods of recurring depression. This story is interwoven with a narrative of the marriage itself, a marriage that began with 'sealing' in a Mormon temple, endured through the birth of four sons and the development of two careers, but foundered when the couple's hopes and personal needs failed to match their optimistic expectations and the rigid strictures of Mormon life. Raw Edges reflects the predicament that many women experience as marriages disintegrate, families fall apart, and people fail to achieve the expectations that their society or faith sets for them. It is also a story of hope, of how a woman overcome by grief and confusion eventually reinvents herself and finds a new approach to life. Ultimately, Raw Edges is a love story, about what we find in life to love, and about how love and the ability to love survive pain and betrayal.