After a small-town southern girl turned New Yorker watches her American Dream implode, she musters the courage to begin again—resurrecting the powerful woman her daughters had glimpsed during their family’s darkest times.
I scrolled to voicemail on my husband’s cell phone. Instantly I heard a woman’s voice I’d never heard before.
“I love you. Call me at home,” the voice said.
My hand trembled. I inhaled my tears and stuffed my wails inside so the children, one floor above, wouldn’t hear.
“Want to come over here tomorrow and have a little time to be private instead of meeting at the office?” the voice continued.
Fear exploded in my chest. I couldn’t swallow. I wanted to bolt the doors and keep my family in suspended animation, safe and rolled up in their covers until I could figure out what to do next…
A raw and riveting memoir, Disassembly Required invites readers along, moment by gut-wrenching moment, on one woman’s journey from betrayal and devastation to resilience and recovery. From learning of her husband’s affair, to family court, to life as a single mother, Beverly Willett perseveres in resisting injustice, the loss of her family unit, and the sale of the beautiful Brooklyn Brownstone her family had called home.
Willett knows selling her house will require taking inventory of her possessions; she does not realize it will require taking inventory of herself. But as she surrenders her hopes for a life that hasn’t turned out the way she imagined, the world opens back up. And Willett leaps toward it, embracing uncertainty.
Disassembly Required is a story of quiet struggle and persistence. Unflinchingly honest in its examination of the discomforts of change, it celebrates the opportunities for transformation.
"Ostensibly about the break-up of her marriage and loss of her dream house, a four-story Victorian brownstone in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, Beverly Willett's absorbing memoir is really about finding a home in one's own skin. A delight."
— Courtney Hargrave, author of "Burden: A Preacher, A Klansman and a True Story of Redemption in the Modern South," a major motion picture starring Forest Whitaker
"Sometimes the best way to find yourself is to lose your husband, your home, your bearings—and start all over again, and that's just what Beverly Willett did in this ebullient memoir about giving up what you thought you wanted to find out what you really need. An enchanting and inspiring look at how less can really be so, so much more."
— Caroline Leavitt, New York Times best-selling author of "Pictures of You"
"This is the book Sheryl Sandberg might have written if she hadn't been rich. Beverly Willett had the dream: husband, children, career, and that most important New York achievement, a house in Brooklyn. And then she just had...her kids. She didn't 'lean in,' she sucked it up, moved on, and built a new life. Disassembly Required: A Memoir of Midlife Resurrection is more energizing and inspiring than a triple espresso."
— Jesse Kornbluth, HeadButler.com
"Disassembly Required is Beverly Willett's story of resurrecting her life after a devastating divorce. In it, she reminds us of the sorrow love can bring us as well as that love—of children, of self—really can conquer all. An uplifting and ultimately triumphant story."
— Ann Hood, New York Times bestselling author of "The Knitting Circle" and "The Book That Matters Most"
"In her inspiring debut memoir, Beverly Willett's account of a devastating divorce and its aftermath is both sharpshooting and poignant. Her ability to push through deep despair and reclaim herself while holding on to grace and wit will give hope to anyone starting over in life."
— Melanie Bowden Simón, author of "La Americana" and a 2016 '35 Over 35' Debut Author
"Willett's writing shows the type of matter-of-fact vulnerability that can only come from surviving what was meant to destroy you. Even the most gut-wrenching of scenes have a level of self-awareness that expertly avoids pity. Moments of dark humor and wisdom shine throughout the narrative, which reads almost like a second coming-of-age story. Slowly, order returns to Willett's life, and she's able to rebuild, the satisfaction of surviving acting as the perfect foundation for a new life."
— Ariel Felton, Do Savannah
About the Author
Beverly Willett has written for The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Post, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, and many more. A former entertainment lawyer in New York City, she now lives in Savannah, Georgia, and serves on the boards of the homeless authority and the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home. To learn more, watch her Tedx Talk “How to Begin Again.”