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Alec Baldwin's A Promise to Ourselves Captures the Brutality of Divorce Wars

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Alec Baldwin is one of the walking wounded, a casualty of the divorce/custody wars. Written out of his pain, looking from the inside looking out, viewing events through the prism of that pain with all of a victim's perceptions and acuity. Although sometimes -- perhaps often -- skewed, or inaccurate, his story told with intelligence, passion and understandably, anger, and acknowledgment of the mistakes he made, it is all the more instructive and revealing to anyone about to embark on a similar journey and gives a foretaste of the emotional rollercoaster they can expect. It is not a journey for the faint of heart.

His description of his wife's lawyer as being "avaricious, inhumane, a garden slug of a divorce lawyer...I loathed [the lawyer] -- he is none of the foregoing -- demonstrates the damage the process can do to an otherwise sensitive and reasonable person.

He exposes to daylight the underbelly of the American system of divorce and the cottage industries that the system has created -- forensic accountants, appraisers, custody evaluators, psychologist, psychiatrists, law guardians and mediators -- and, of course lawyers, all feeding off the carcass of people getting divorced.

Baldwin takes the reader on a whirlwind tour across the landscape of divorce and born of his heartache, makes interesting suggestions to improve the system, to anyone about to get on that bus.

There are many things wrong with the system. It is perhaps, the worst possible -- except for all others. He makes it clear that, at the very least, as far as custody is concerned, the system does not work. The law simply does not deal well -- nor was ever intended -- to deal with matters of the heart -- particularly the heart in conflict with itself.

One thing, according to the public's perception he may well have got right, '...most lawyers [are] are men and women who were not sufficiently smart enough to become doctors or engineers.'

This book is a must and quick read for anybody thinking of a divorce, but they better keep a bottle of Jack Daniels near by. They will need it."