“As a family mediator who works with couples when their marriages are falling apart, I watch for books that can help people understand what went wrong, how to avoid making the same mistakes again, and how to be good parents during and after separation and divorce. This book works. Boyd Lemon has had an interesting life. Success as a lawyer with no enthusiasm for his work, failed marriages to three very different women, insecurity, sex, drugs, politics, alcoholism, race horses, and, finally, a little therapy and a lot of writing. Male or female, you can learn a lot from this book. Seeing the errors this man and each of his wives made in their marriages may help you make a wiser decision about whom to marry. It can certainly remind you about the importance of working on your marriage: Listen to your partner; speak up for yourself; don’t expect your partner to read your mind; do deal with conflicts so that you can resolve them as a team; don’t assume that your spouse’s expectations about roles in marriage are the same as yours; do seek counseling when you suspect that your marriage may be in trouble; do not drink too much alcohol. In short, DO give attention, affection, and respect to each other. Mr. Lemon does not explicitly say all that, but he makes it easy to learn.”
“Boyd Lemon’s memoir DIGGING DEEP is aptly named. I was stunned at the blunt candor of many disclosures. Few people are willing to invest the time and energy to probe their thinking as deeply as Bruce has done and virtually none are willing to bare their psyches the way he has. Perhaps he wouldn’t have written the book if he hadn’t found so many answers in his digging. For me, the excitement was following the path of his transformation from a person who had unquestioningly absorbed his parents’ expectations and cultural norms to an aware individual willing to take personal responsibility for his early decisions and behavior that led to the failure of three successive marriages.
Following that path was easy due to his unusual technique of writing from the narrative present with flashback loops through a progressive series of memories. This technique allowed ample opportunity for ongoing reflection and gradual revelation as the story progressed. It also provided a means for him to explain the writing practice technique he used to probe his memories and organize his thoughts.
For some, the rub may come in his extensive reflections on each of his three wives. This information is of two sorts: his intimate thoughts about the women, which were often less than flattering, and their behavior, which was sometimes reprehensible. He has obviously grappled long and hard with the issues of respecting the privacy of others versus his right to tell his own story. That arena is lined with thorn bushes on every side. After considerable thought, I determined to my own satisfaction that every incident he reports is used to support and illustrate points he makes about his own behavior or thinking. He is never as tough on them as he is on himself. Although none of the reports are specifically prurient, and he does view each with compassion, they are a bit brutal in their honesty. He did change names for everyone but himself, but anyone in his circle of acquaintances will know who they are.”
“Marriage is perhaps our oldest institutions, but it remains one of the most vulnerable. Although we are in awe of the many marriages that last fifty, sixty or even more years, we are equally aware of the nearly half of all marriages that end in premature deaths, usually quite painful. Boyd Lemon, a successful attorney by training and profession, has written a fascinating analysis of his three failed marriages, and what he has learned in the process of coming to grips with his failures. Most books like this one are written by women, for women; often with the men used as caricatures or foils against which to portray the “growth” of the woman. Lemon’s analysis is brutally frank and honest, and he spars himself much less than I think he should have. In the process, the reader is given a rare view inside a troubled marriage from the point of view of its “male victim;” a man, working hard to fulfill his financial obligations and struggling all of time, but sometimes in the wrong way with the wrong outcome. This is an enlightening book for anyone to read, male or female.”
“As a relationship expert and coach who’s life work it is to help people have fulfilling love lives, I am always on the look out for books that will help my clients. When I picked up Digging Deep my intention was to glean from it something to use in my work. I usually skim through such books picking out important elements. In this case I was drawn into the story and read the book cover to cover! The author tells the behind the scenes tale of what went wrong in his three marriages with such raw honesty I was compelled to know the whole story. Though much of the telling is about fairly extreme circumstances, from my vantage point it pinpoints the basic ways people go off course in a romantic relationship. The connection between sex, money, power and love is revealed, as each marriage begins and eventually crumbles. In outlining his thinking at the beginning of each marriage the author also pinpoints the moment when most marriages begin to fail. Some take a couple of years, others decades. Sometimes they last forever with both parties miserable. I recommend Digging Deep if you are up for reading some bare bone truths about what goes on behind closed doors from one mans very honest perspective.
“Digging Deep” encourages readers to evaluate their own marriages in a way that will shed light on how to work through a situation or when to move on. Beyond presenting us with a great story to read, Boyd comes across as a kind person that is willing to help others. When you purchase and read his book you not only acknowledge his contribution and get a great story but you support his venture through personal growth. Boyd has created a great foundation that people can relate to as he explores his participation in the break down of his marriages. Boyd gives us the male perspective and does a great job of painting the picture. When we face our involvement in destruction and understand the depth of how we fit in an opportunity to heal presents itself. Boyd, with honesty and clarity, creates an interesting reading opportunity to be resourced in assisting with your personal growth. “Digging Deep” is a must read for anyone interested in understanding themselves better, married or not. The destruction of marriage is relative to the larger message calling out.”
“I really enjoyed this read a lot more than I even imagined that I would. Boyd is so incredibly honest and open about his problems in relationships, it was refreshing. And, it also gave me a platform to sit back and wonder if I’d been making the same choices and mistakes that he had. It was a very uncomplicated read, and I mean that in a complimentary fashion. I found myself eager to learn what was on the next page, because I’d become attached to the characters, and because I found everything so relate-able. This is well written, intelligent, and fresh. He’s HONEST. That is so hard to find these days. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has ever had the gall to dig deeper into their own life.”
“Anyone who has read The Women’s Room and thinks men can’t look at themselves critically, objectively or honestly should read this book. Digging Deep is well named for that is precisely what Boyd Lemon has done. More than that, he has not held back at any point in his microscopic examination of his own contributions to the failure of his three marriages. He exposes all the raw naivety and lust which propelled him into his first relationship, openly recognising the insecurities and drives that that propelled him and his total lack of insight when things were clearly going wrong.
He graphically displays the tumultuous passion which initiated his second marriage, the lust and excesses which kept it going long beyond its sell by date and his unwillingness to recognise what was happening to his family. This is done with enough descriptive sex, drugs and rock and roll to satisfy the most demanding voyeur but without being sordid. Yet whilst he began to recognise that there were steps he could have taken to avoid the eventual calamity of separation and divorce, he took no action.
One would have thought he might have learned from two failures, but no, he did it again, with calamitous results. It is only with approaching old age that he addresses the issues and, through the medium of writing, begins to come to terms with himself.
This is a seminal book that should be required reading for everyone, both men and women who are contemplating getting married. It should be required reading for all social psychology students and those who attend counselling to sort out their own relationships for it has so much to offer.
It took great courage for Boyd Lemon to look at himself with this level of critical objectivity and honesty. He should be recognised for that as well as for his superb contribution to our understanding of how human relationships can go wrong and keep foundering because of self interest. I wonder if his three ex-wives have been so honest with themselves.”
“As soon as I started reading Digging Deep by Boyd Lemon, I was hooked. I found the author’s storytelling style to be exactly the kind that I most enjoy – moving from the present day to various stories in his past, while weaving them together quite well. I never felt that I wasn’t keeping up with the narrative of his three marriages and became so invested in finding out what would happen next that I had a hard time putting the book down.
I was raised in the 60s and 70s – born right at the end of the baby boom – and was also caught up in the struggle of balancing the old and the new views on marriage and relationships. Many of the issues that came up for Lemon were issues in my first marriage, including the fear that if I didn’t marry the first decent candidate that came along I would end up an old maid and miss my opportunity to have a family and live the life I was expected to live by my parents and society. I was also the kind of wife, even in the early 80’s, who worked full time, commuted several hours each day, and then didn’t sit down until I’d put a hot meal on the table, cleaned the kitchen and packed my husband’s lunch, while he was relaxing and watching TV. When I look back now, I think “What at an idiot.” But I was doing exactly what I had learned a good wife does. According to his memoir, Lemon was doing exactly what he had learned a good husband does.”
“Wow!!! Exceedingly well written! “Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers his Marriages…”
Right from the title to the very ending phrases, each word, is weighted, thought out, chosen with precision, and at times, is interspersed with playful humor that is allowed to creep in, beautifully, never failing to make this reader smile!
Boyd Lemon has painted the pictures emerging in your mind’s eye, just like an artist does, with flowing movements forever recycling and with each climax gaining momentum, instead of merely stopping!
What is more, is that just like an artist using light to capture that which shines,
Lemon manages to also develop the unfolding story, rather like a photographer exposes the film, each individual frame exploding into bright vivid color!
In short, it hits you in the face and is very revealing, honest and real. Lemon demonstrates to the reader how his eyes have been opened and that he now is all the wiser for this personal growth, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. Can you relate to this development that is taking place?
Lemon bears his human and animalistic soul, leading in turn for each of us who read the book being all the better for having read it!”
“I agreed to write a review of “Digging Deep” without ever really having read a book of this type before. I didn’t know what to expect and I find this review very difficult to write. It seems like a book as deep and honest as this one deserves a deeper review than the one I’m writing. It was a very thought provoking read because it encouraged me to compare this authors experiences to my own. I don’t know exactly why I was drawn into the story of Boyd’s life as much as I was, but I wanted to keep reading even when I knew I was procrastinating other responsibilities. Furthermore, I imagine that I’ll be thinking a lot about what I read in this book for the next few days to come and then probably less frequently in the years to come.
What’s odd about “Digging Deep” is that I think the people it would help the most are the least likely to read it. So I guess the second best audience would be those who are married to the people who need to read this book. I think that that’s probably anyone having marital trouble. The third best audience would be people who are considering marriage or intend to get married. Having someone’s lifetimes worth of relationship experience to analyze can help people avoid making similar mistakes and can open up an avenue for analyzing one’s own relationships. I think that for some people this can be invaluable. Of course, it requires the reader to be open to such self analysis.”
“Memoirs are tricky things. I don’t generally read them. That being said, when they are done well, they can be outstanding. ‘Stop Time’ by Frank Conroy has always been one of my favorite books – and a good example of this phenomena. I believe that all good writing, but especially something as personal as a memoir, needs to be honest and filled with compassion (in all directions). Lemon’s book is an outstanding example of this. He deconstructs his marriages and his life in a way that is open and honest and beautiful, though sometimes painful. Which is what a life usually is. There are no pulled punches here. Instead, Lemon bares his soul and takes us on the journey of his life through the lens of his failed marriages. Along the way, there are interesting insights into the world he lived in. Inside and outside of his own mind. The language is simple and straightforward with just the right number of strong metaphors dropped in at the right places. The way the memoir is constructed works well, too. The reader is given the chance to see Lemon discover his life as a writer along with his life in a larger sense. I whole-heartedly recommend this book. It was a wonderful read and I came away feeling truly grateful that the author was willing to “dig as deep” as he did. If I have one complaint regarding this work, it is that parts of it hit a little too close to home. But that is hardly Lemon’s fault, and it has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life in the context of someone else’s. And that is exactly what a good memoir should do.”
“After finishing this book, I have to agree with one of the reviewers who thought this book was ideal for couples counseling. I was torn with emotions as I read through the chapters of the lived experiences of the author. I alternated between anger and sadness. I wanted to put the book down and not complete it, but I found myself drawn to it. The author tells the tale of what he felt went wrong in his three marriages, with such raw honesty; I felt almost driven, to know the whole story. Initially, I thought I would only read about the two first wives, but I was not able to resist the lure of the third and final installment in the story. I found myself constantly turning to the author’s photo on the back of the book, because I could not associate him with the activities which were taking place in the book. I also felt as if I had known him back in the time period in which the story was set, not as he appeared to be today. This book forces you to stop and take stock of your life, then and now. An excellent emotional, and compelling read.”
“After a long career as an attorney and a simultaneous stint at raising racehorses, Boyd Lemon moved to Boston to become a writer in 2007. In 2011 he has published two books: the short story collection, Unexpected Love and Other Stories, and his memoir, Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages. Lemon’s drive to succeed drives the memoir, which careens through his three marriages with unusual honesty: Lemon is not afraid to show himself as he was — confused, horny, vulnerable, dazzled by the social changes erupting in California in the sixties and seventies. Nor is he afraid to comment on his mistakes: in a telling paragraph where his first wife has requested that he call her “Christie” rather than “Christine,” he admits his disregard for her wishes and says, “Maybe she should have called me ‘Bud.'” Lemon is not out to get anyone, to blame anyone, but to understand what went wrong in each marriage.I have read the book twice and each time I want to know what happens next, pulling for Lemon to make better choices, succeed at a marriage, be happier. I hold my breath as he samples the intoxicants of sex, drugs, alcohol, politics, music and gambling. I watch him buy and sell houses, digging himself out of holes again and again. The book pulls me into its orbit and keeps me there, turning pages, reading on to the end.
Writers will appreciate Lemon’s descriptions of his writing process: he details times when he feels stuck, when he can’t write, when he tosses away a first draft and begins again. His persistence has produced two books now and he vows to keep writing, digging into the buried stories of his life.”
“”Watching his daughter’s happy family, Boyd Lemon thinks them so lucky but realizes, “It isn’t luck, though, is it.” He’s had three failed marriages and didn’t spend much time with his kids. In this book he dares to look back and examine his own role in past unhappiness. “If all you do is move on, you don’t learn anything.” But it isn’t easy: “… like a child standing on the edge of a high-dive board, shivering, afraid to jump, I am held back by fear. I sip my third martini before I can begin.” And then he tells his story with an astonishing openness that encompasses his innermost thoughts, experiences with women and sex and drugs, expectations based on his parents’ marriage, and difficulties dealing with changing societal mores of the 60s and 70s. Readers of middle-age and older will probably recognize their own relationships in the pages.
It is a rare person who can stand outside himself and rationally see his own behavior and its consequences, but Lemon has aced it. He also writes well – personable, with descriptive prose – and learned how to “dig deep” from the Natalie Goldberg books and classes he describes. Loved the ending wrap-up. There are a great many men who would benefit from reading this book, but women are the other half of making a happy marriage and can learn from this, too. Digging Deep is for those brave enough to want insights into their own relationships and how they can make them better.”
“This is a book that will not likely languish on your nightstand. I read it in only three sittings, and after each break, I could hardly wait to get back to Lemon’s personal journey through the Sixties and beyond. In the end, I was rewarded with much insight into my own experiences of living through those bewildering times. Digging Deep is also the story of how the enigmatic process of creative writing evolves and how the process of writing itself can be personally redeeming. A fascinating read.”
“I arrived at Boyd Lemon’s book Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages with some trepidation: personal memoirs can be so personal that they’re sometimes excruciating, and not in a good way. And, sure enough, Digging Deep is in fact that very thing — excruciating: excruciatingly honest and searing, and (bonus) almost entirely in a good way. For an account of three failed marriages, it is also surprisingly free of meanspiritedness or indeed bitterness. Instead, the reader is left wincing at the pain of a series of realisations that almost come too late. And that “almost” is key. Boyd Lemon is no spring chicken, but the fact that he gains such insights — however belatedly — is a testament to his character and indeed his writing, for it is writing that ultimately saves him and retrieves whatever positives can be extracted from a series of disastrous relationships. The writing itself is so matter of fact, told in such short, simple sentences, that its escalating grip is initially imperceptible, as if Hemingway had opted for the self-help section. You can’t help but worry about the others mentioned within these pages, how they might feel about the unavoidable vulnerability of their exposure in Boyd Lemon’s account, but you also marvel that the author himself accepts much, if not most, of the responsibility for the sad endings to all three marriages; and that perhaps is the greatest lesson of this fascinating book — if we want to get along with our fellow human beings, and love them, some honest humility can go a long way.
“Entering all his marriages with the wrong intentions and a 50s view of how marriage should be, helped lead Mr. Lemon into this continual whirlpool of struggles and failures. He gives us the facts- a bit raw in fact. However, they are important to know how he perceived life as he thought it should be. Mistakes made by all, but the same mistakes many times (like financial errors abound). He failed to see what was happening right in front of him most times. Lack of paying attention, too much work and drink led to many downfalls. He certainly was not all to blame. We have mostly all naive people here who lack responsibility. Marrying for sex or to show others his “confidence” just doesn’t make for a marriage. Many young people especially can learn from this. As one who has been married over 40 years to a one time date, we know communication is most important and have told many young people this. Ups, downs, take them together and learn. Now that he has, let’s wish Mr. Lemon the best of all worlds!”
This memoir is written with brutal honesty about the process of coming to understand himself and the failure of his marriages His coming of age as a highly paid lawyer provides insight into the Mad Man like excesses of the seventies. A compelling read.
Best-selling author, Jervey Tervalon
“Lemon’s memoir is a record of an “examined” life, and he shows us a way to examine our own lives more deeply. Sides of himself are acknowledged only when revealed through writing practice. Lemon’s tale of his three marriages gone south allows the reader to encounter a man of brutal honesty about his buried feelings. His search for understanding of human foibles reflects our own half truths, denials and glaring flaws. His wild mind mirrors a truth we are lucky to savor in this lifetime.
Sometimes with stinging honesty about himself and human nature, Lemon leads us where most of us fear to go. Sports cars, race horses and large houses brought him a temporary excitement, a feeling of false pride that sustained a driven man establishing himself in our society. His path is from self centeredness to compassion and brings us through all the psychological detours in between. Sizzling honesty burns every page. Only one who has prodded his mind and soul relentlessly could write so candidly.
Exquisite perceptions of human foibles dominate every page. Traveling with him in his memoir from (self) deceit to clear vision, Lemon leaves us looking more deeply into our own failed relationships. ”
Sonja Lillvik, author of The Painted Fish and Other Mayan Feasts
Boyd Lemon does much more in Digging Deep than share his self-discovery. His digging hits gold in the way it artfully illustrates an era of sex, drugs and rock and roll. An era when so many were just like Boyd Lemon – or the women he married. It is a painful. It is personal. But nothing about it is trite because it is the truth.
Leigh McMillan, author of It All Started With a Dog.
Boyd Lemon’s memoir, Digging Deep, lays out one man’s history of failed marriages–his missteps, his failings, his sexism, his naivete–with unflinching honesty. In trying to make sense of his own life, he lays down the history he was a part of, the transition from the repressed 1950s to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Caught in the middle, Lemon and the men of his generation, who had been raised to believe in a patriarchal way of life, were left to build their lives on a cracked foundation.
Saundra Goldman, writing teacher
Boyd Lemon’s Memoir, Digging Deep, A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, is an American On Chesil Beach. Lemon takes us through his years of brutal self-deception with gentle honesty and even a sense of humor. His willingness to let the writing process take over reveals understanding and empathy that were locked inside of him during his three marriages. An uncomfortable journey made safe with a narrator ready to own his, and his generation’s, issues.
Miriam Hall, writing teacher and author of At Home Here and Dreams of Movement