Author’s contest seeks juicy, mean divorce stories

July 28, 2006

By David Gregorio

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When a gas explosion leveled a
Manhattan building after the doctor who lived there reportedly
warned his ex-wife he would never sell the place to pay a
divorce settlement, most New Yorkers were stunned.

Even author Warren Adler, whose novel “The War of the
Roses” chronicles a divorce battle that spins out of control,
was surprised by the incident, which occurred a few blocks from
his home.

But when he heard the reason for the blast, he chalked it
up as one more tragic tale. Adler’s e-mail has been filling up
with similar tales of woe.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of “War of
the Roses,” the author is running a contest for “the juiciest,
meanest and veracious divorce story.” Stories about bad
break-ups will also be considered. So far, he’s received about
200 entries.

Adler said a “top-notch” prize will be presented to the
winner, who will be announced on February 14 — Valentine’s

Once he gets permission to share the stories, Adler intends
to post the entries on his Web site

He thought the contest might produce some funny anecdotes,
but a lot of the stories have been heart-breaking — poisoned
pets, kidnapped children and decimated houses.

Dr. Nicholas Bartha, who lived on Manhattan’s tony Upper
East Side, died this month after his apartment and office
building were destroyed by a gas explosion. Police said Bartha
wrote a rambling e-mail to his estranged wife in which he
seemed suicidal and said he did not want to sell the building
to pay for a divorce settlement.

“People who once loved each other really hate each other.
… There’s a lot of evil out there; there’s evil in all of us,
and it comes out in divorce,” Adler told Reuters.

“It’s not funny, they don’t laugh about it. … But people
need to tell someone about it. Maybe it’s for catharsis, to get
things off their chest.”

Since his novel was turned into a 1989 film starring
Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, Adler has often been asked
to share his opinions and insights on divorce, which is a tad

“I’m viewed as the world’s biggest expert on divorce, even
though I’ve never been divorced,” chuckled Adler, 78, who has
been married for 50 years. “Everything I know about it comes
from research; my antenna goes up naturally after hearing all
these divorce stories.”

Source: reuters

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