Solomon's Children: Exploding the Myth of Divorce


218 pages
ISBN 0-385-25039-8





Reviewed by Ellen Pilon

Ellen Pilon is a library assistant in the Patrick Power Library at Saint
Mary’s University in Halifax.


Solomon’s Children is a well-researched, well-presented study of children of divorced parents. Walker began her research with one idea: “When it comes to divorce, adults don’t really know what the children are thinking.”

The research is based on a lengthy questionnaire (included in the book) which was sent to 1050 children and adults who grew up in divorced families in the United States and Canada. The people interviewed are aged 11 to 61. The return rate was 35% (368). The average age of the participants at the time of divorce was 11.4. The questionnaire was well designed and the respondents were eager to express themselves.

Walker made several discoveries she found interesting. In a divorced family, the absence of the father is felt strongly. In many cases it was not the divorce but the loss of the father which caused the trauma.

Children have great recuperative powers, but because society maintains a negative view of divorce, children are not allowed to express their feelings. Communication is lacking between divorcing parents and their children. The children are not told what is going on and what will happen, and they are not asked how they feel or what they want.

Walker’s underlying argument is that “many people have yet to accept the fact that a good divorce is better than a bad marriage for everybody involved.” Staying together for the sake of the children is worse than divorcing.

In her chapter “The Rise of the Child-King,” Walker explores how the child became the focus of our culture and family. She examines women’s change in attitude to children and traces the development of the mother figure and its myth. She discusses custody at length; she considers child support, step-parents, and step-siblings.

Chapter 7, “How Children Feel About Divorce,” is an important part of the book. “The majority of Solomon’s children handled their parents’ divorce better than most people might have expected ... Most adapted well, and the majority expressed some concern as to what all the fuss was about in the first place.”

Although the book is published in Canada and written by a Toronto author, the statistics and legal information are usually American. Unfortunately the author does not always make this clear. The book is well researched and the author shows considerable skill in interpreting her findings. Solomon’s Children would be a very helpful book for divorcing parents.

Glynnis Walker is the author of Second Wife, Second Best?



Walker, Glynnis, “Solomon's Children: Exploding the Myth of Divorce,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,