• If We Break

  • A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing
  • By: Kathleen Buhle
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Buhle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (375 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 intimate, astonishing 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 gripping 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.

©2022 Random House (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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 

What listeners say about If We Break

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A true survivors story

Kathleen presents as honest and likable, it reads/listens like you’re with a friend… a friend who fell madly in love and was treated poorly by a narcissistic addict. I read her ex husbands book shortly after- and it reinforced that Kathleen is truly a survivor of a terrible and self centered husband.

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if we break

I did struggle to listen to this book because I can empathize with the author. I cried most of the time. Because I have been there in marriage. God Bless you Kathleen I hope you continue to find happiness in anything that can be difficult or hurtful. And you didn't mention in your book or maybe I missed the part, a Sincere apology from Hunter Biden. I think he owes you and the girls an apology.

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A great read.

Kathleen believed she was taking on an honorable name and family. Without saying a word of disrespect towards the Biden family her choice to discard the name speaks volumes as to her authenticity as a human being and a mother.

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Really great listen.

Also listened to hunter’s book. I think this telling was a different perspective but much more insightful. This is an amazing story of courage.

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Read this! So honest and so fair ,,,

I was pleased and stunned that Buhle could and did write such a fair and honest assessment of her 20 plus years with Hunter Biden. She is a very good story teller.
Hunter seems to have been a pretty decent guy until his descent in to alcoholism and drugs. She is measured and does not get in to the gritty parts of his obsession with prostitutes etc. She also shows and admits to her own obsession with trying to fix Hunter and his addictions.
She is completely uncritical of the Biden family.
She reads the book herself in a very compelling way.

I highly recommend it.

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Extraordinary

I am in awe of Kathleen's raw narrative and how beautifully she captured her marriage and her life. It is an extraordinary story of a lovely woman married to an extreme narcissistic. I found myself judging: "but Kathleen" I would say to myself. And that is the power of her narrative. Her's are not my shoes; its not my life. She gave me a fascinating few hours filled with poignant moments and laughter too. What I most appreciated most was Kathleen's love of family and love of life. Although we have very little in common, I admired her candor, raw bravery and her commitment to her family. Thank you Kathleen.

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Bravo Kathleen!

For all of us with loved ones suffering from addiction, this story is a balm of inclusivity against the isolation and loneliness we all feel. It’s told from a place of loving acceptance that we all strive for. So many of Kathleen’s experiences were familiar to me. It was a wonderful read!

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She didn’t break…

I was so touched by this memoir. I could not put it down. Kathleen Is my hero on so many levels.

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If We Break

Kathleen Buhle’s story is powerful on so many levels. I am thankful she had the courage to be so transparent. Riveting from start to finish.

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  • 06-24-22

Authentically Beautiful

I wanted to know the conclusion of every chapter. This human experience is well told, deeply moving and inspiring.

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