If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing (Hardcover)
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Kathleen Buhle shares her story of resilience and self-discovery after her marriage to Hunter Biden unraveled in the wake of substance abuse and infidelity in this “dignified and revealing” (People) memoir.
“Kathleen Buhle’s brave and honest story transcends politics, division, hearsay, and judgment.”—Connie Britton
This is not a story about good versus evil. Or who was right. Or who was better. For decades, Kathleen Buhle chose to play the role of the good wife, beginning when, as a naïve young woman from a working-class family on the South Side of Chicago, she met the dashing son of a senator at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Oregon. Within months of falling in love, Kathleen found herself pregnant and engaged, living a life beyond anything she’d ever known.
Determined to build her family on a foundation of love, Kathleen was convinced her and Hunter’s commitment to each other could overcome any obstacle. But when Hunter’s drinking evolved into dependency, she was forced to learn how rapidly and irrevocably a marriage can fall apart under the merciless power of addiction. When the lies became insurmountable, Kathleen was forced to reckon with the compromises she had made to try to save her marriage. She wondered if she could survive on her own.
The result is a memoir that is page-turning and heart-breaking. Here Kathleen asks why she kept so much hidden—from her daughters and herself—for so many years, why she became dependent on one man, and why she was more faithful to a vow of secrecy than to her own truth. This inspiring chronicle of radical honesty and self-actualization speaks to women who have lost part of their identity and want to reclaim it.
About the Author
Kathleen Buhle has worked on women’s issues in Washington, D.C., for the past decade. She was the director of strategic partnerships at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, a non-profit serving domestic violence survivors. Presently she is the CEO of The House at 1229—which she founded in 2019 as a collaborative space for women leaders—and the development chair for the Ellington Fund. She is the mother of three daughters, Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy.
“Revealing . . . Kathleen Buhle is in a season of reinvention.”—Katie Couric Media
“Kathleen Buhle’s brave and honest story transcends politics, division, hearsay, and judgment. It is a story of love and learning, of the crushing blow of co-dependency and addiction, and ultimately of Buhle’s journey back to herself.”—Connie Britton
“From the safe harbor of a healing aftermath, Kathleen Buhle tells of the grievous toll that addiction took not just on her husband but also on her marriage and her family. She writes with warmth and kindness and without bitterness. As someone who has experienced firsthand the devastating hold of addiction, I find her account clear-eyed, painful, heartfelt, funny, and, best of all, hopeful.”—Leslie Jordan, author of How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived
“It isn’t easy to write a book about marriage that acknowledges what hard work it is to love another person and, also, oneself. In If We Break, Kathleen Buhle has done just that. The result is a harrowing tale of innocence and self-discovery, truth-telling and resilience. I couldn’t put it down.”—Kim Brooks, author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear
“In If We Break, Kathleen Buhle writes clearly and courageously about her life and story. From a working-class family to the First Family, Buhle tells a story that will help others who have loved someone with an addiction recognize that addiction doesn’t discriminate and there is nothing anyone can do to cure an addict. That can only come from a choice the addict makes to change their life.”—Rita Wilson