PERSONAL: Married; husband's name Jim (a college professor); children: two. Education: Wake Forest University, B.A.; University of Chicago, M.A., M.Div.
CAREER: Institute for American Values, New York, NY, director of the Center for Marriage and Families. Guest on radio and television programs, including All Things Considered, O'Reilly Factor, and Today. Public speaker.
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (nonfiction), Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2005.
Coauthor of study, "Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Dating and Mating Today." Contributor to periodicals, including Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Century.
SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Marquardt paints a stark picture of the effect of divorce on children in her book Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. Marquardt challenges the common wisdom that an amicable divorce is better for children than parents who remain married despite problems. Her studies show that while divorce may be less destructive to children's psyches than living in a home that is actually dangerous due to violence or extreme tension in the marriage, most divorces today do not fall into that category, and children whose parents divorce even though their problems create a low amount of stress in the family may fare far worse than others. Marquardt believes that children of divorce frequently become caretakers of their parents rather than vice versa, and are burdened with the perplexing problem of reconciling their parents' differing values and beliefs. She also finds that children of divorce are often inappropriately entrusted with their parents' secrets. Remarriage does little to heal the sense of brokenness that often overcomes a child of divorce, and such individuals frequently seem to be at increased risk for substance abuse, pedophilic attacks, and other social ills.
The author's contention that strong marriages are better for children than divorce is largely uncontested, but some reviewers fault her for focusing so much on what Kay Brodie called in Library Journal "a largely unattainable ideal for society." Marquardt states that her work stems from her own experiences as a child of divorce as well as a survey of 1,500 young adults. National Review contributor Allan Carlson found that the author's inclusion of her personal story "saves her book" from becoming maudlin, "and turns it instead into a fresh, cogent, and compelling testimony."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
First Things, November, 2005, review of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, p. 60.
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Kay Brodie, review of Between Two Worlds, p. 100.
National Review, November 7, 2005, Allan Carlson, review of Between Two Worlds, p. 54.
Newsweek, October 24, 2005, Peg Tyre, interview with Elizabeth Marquardt, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, June 13, 2005, review of Between Two Worlds, p. 42.
Between Two Worlds Web site, http://www.betweentwoworlds.org (April 18, 2006).
CNN Online, http://transcripts.cnn.com/ (March 8, 2006), transcript of Anderson Cooper interview with Elizabeth Marquardt.
Dallas Morning News Online, http://www.dallasnews.com/ (January 20, 2006), transcript of chat session with Elizabeth Marquardt.
Institute for American Values Web site, http://www.americanvalues.org/ (March 8, 2006), biographical information about Elizabeth Marquardt.
uExpress, http://www.uexpress.com/ (November 25, 2003), "Massachusetts Decision Ignores Fate of Children."
Washington Post Online, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (November 7, 2005), transcript of chat session with Elizabeth Marquardt.