In the introduction to Susan Gregory Thomas' memoir "In Spite of Everything," the author writes, "It is a well-worn axiom that if you want to learn what is unhealed from your own childhood, have children." In this raw and courageous self-portrait, Thomas examines the impact of her parents' divorce on her own life as a parent, as well as the adult lives of the reported 40 percent of Generation X whose parents divorced during the 1970s and '80s.

The memoir is full of uncomfortable and painful anecdotes, and Thomas mines her own childhood for abundant examples of what used to be considered "benign neglect" but would now be considered simply "neglect," including instances of statutory rape, abandonment and at times, cruelty. While she did not live what most people would consider an underprivileged childhood -- she had food on the table, clothes on her back and attended a private school for a time -- she had been emotionally stripped bare and left by her parents to wander through adolescence essentially on her own. When she met her husband, Cal, in 1991, she thought she had found her "soul mate" and "entered marriage with the presumption that Cal and I were going to outdo my parents altogether."

But in spite of everything, including raising two children with the "attachment parenting" method, owning the "perfect" Brooklyn brownstone, both working from home and having the baseless economic optimism of their generation, Thomas and her husband divorce and Thomas finds herself broke and alone.

She writes, " ... I never say to [her children] that while divorce is difficult, everyone is happier in the end, and I will never say it. Because it isn't true."

Throughout the book Thomas, a journalist and author of "Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds," skillfully weaves her own personal story into a broader cloth of an entire generation using statistics, reports and outside anecdotes. The effects of divorce, she says, linger well into a Gen Xer's adult life. There are points in the book where Thomas tends to veer off track (even this Gen Xer felt that the analogy between our generation's divorce epidemic and "Star Wars" was a reach), but ultimately Thomas has succeeded in writing a memoir that speaks intimately, and with honesty, for an entire generation that needed to be heard.

Meganne Fabrega is a freelance writer and a member of the National Book Critics Circle.