“The Third Person in the Room” by Bea V. Larsen


Bea V. Larsen, Esq.
Nolan Kerr Press (2019)
ISBN 9781733340205
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (08/2020)

“The Third Person in the Room: Stories of Relationships at a Turning Point,” by  Bea V. Larsen, Esq., is a part-memoir, part marriage/divorce guide that could change your life for the better. Drawing on decades of experience mediating with divorcing couples, the author shares some of her stories and some anecdotes from her personal life and career as well. Looking back on her life’s work and all of the couples she assisted with objective eyes, she calls herself “the third person in the room.”

In this book, Larsen shares with honesty and respect, and relays her own personal experiences with pathos and candor: As a woman, she was a minority in 1960’s law school. Later, she found herself struggling with widowhood, and expresses regrets over not getting to know her father better. Her passages on Parkinson’s and maturing in age are especially moving. She treated her clients with concern and compassion during their time of marital turmoil.

Although in this book the author delves into her past, it can have a positive impact on couples and individuals today. Relationship issues, especially divorce, can be such a stressful time for couples. But this book helps readers realize that they aren’t alone, that so many couples have gone through, are going through, or will go through emotions and situations similar to the ones the author talks about.

When individuals go through divorce, they sometimes can act like children–letting emotions like fear, anger, and pain get the best of them. Sometimes they don’t know what to do or where to turn. But Larsen demonstrated then that a good support system or mediator can make all the difference in the process and outcome of a divorce. Good advice is hard to come by, and this book has plenty of it. Besides relationship wisdom, you’ll find guidance on how to live a good life in general. Some of the topics she covers in this collection of client-related essays are: Communication, fairness, expectations, optimism, anger, guilt, disillusionment, estrangement, empathy, unresolved issues, children of divorce, ethics, myth vs. reality, broken dreams, and more.

“The Third Person in the Room: Stories of Relationships at a Turning Point,” by  Bea V. Larsen, is the book to read this year if you’re uncertain in your relationship, contemplating divorce, or just don’t know where to turn for advice.

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