"Out of the nine weddings that my friend Fiona went to in 1995, five of the marriages had failed within three years"
In late 1995 Kathryn Flett seemed the epitome of a successful woman of the 1990s, with a glamorous media job, a London social life and a new husband to boot. At the age of 31 she had married the man with whom she had fallen in love just a few months previously. But by late 1997 the happy couple were going through the final stages of divorce, Flett's husband having left her earlier that year for another woman. Flett, a journalist with the Observer
, used her Sunday column as an outpouring of grief. Week by week readers witnessed the disintegration of her relationship, as Flett "dipped" her pen "into a convenient jar of vitriol". Now the column has become a book, The Heart-Shaped Bullet
, which painfully scrutinises the breakdown of Flett's marriage to the "commitment-phobic" Eric, her subsequent meeting with "the Boy", a younger man who also leaves her, her final inability to cope and the brief time she spent as an in-patient at a private clinic.
The new millennium seems to embrace such naked confessionals as Flett's, confusing though the mix of feelings they create might be: sympathy, perhaps even empathy, riddled with the guilt of the eager voyeur. One would hope that producing such a book has been cathartic for her; she writes with both poignancy and humour about her sorrow, yet despite the upbeat(ish) ending of The Heart-Shaped Bullet, it is evident that Flett's journey to healing is far from over. --Catherine Taylor