The Next Chapter

Michelle Parise's podcast series Alone is now a book. She says it's more than just about life after heartbreak

The CBC producer talks about why her memoir Alone is more than a story of infidelity and its fallout.
Alone: A Love Story is a book by Michelle Parise. (Pascal Chiarello, Dundurn)
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Michelle Parise has worked in radio and television for more than 20 years. The CBC Radio producer had it all: a career, a house, a husband, a kid. But when her husband ends things, Parise's world is turned upside down and she questions everything she knew about life, love and success. 

Alone: a Love Story is a successful CBC podcast about learning to love yourself in the wake of an unexpected breakup. But Parise originally wrote the podcast as a three-part memoir in 2013. Aloneas a book, now sees the light of day in 2020.

Parise connected with The Next Chapter to talk about writing Alone

Laid bare

"On the surface, Alone could be seen as a book about infidelity and the fallout. But at the heart of it, it's something a lot more. It's about having your life turned upside down in a matter of minutes — and trying to grapple with reality as you know it becoming obsolete and having to forge a new reality. 

"People ask me a lot how I was able to lay myself so bare. It wasn't that difficult. The purpose of art is to talk about the human condition and to get a message out. Especially since I knew that the writing seemed to touch people very deeply, I felt so compelled to put it out there.

"A lot of it makes me look bad. But I feel that staying true to the material because I wrote it mostly as it was happening — or at the very least I wrote it based on notes that I wrote at the time that things happened.

The purpose of art is to talk about the human condition and to get a message out.

"A lot of it is not how I feel anymore, at all. A lot of it is embarrassing to myself. But I wanted to keep it in its present moment; the rawness of it is what makes it feel authentic to people and why people relate to it so much." 

Michelle Parise answers 10 questions about Alone: A Love Story 6:48

Relatable content

"The response that I got to the podcast was so amazing. It's still so amazing. For the first year and a half, I got messages, every single day, from all over the world; 90 per cent of them started with 'thank you,' and they weren't just women who were jilted. 

When you tell a story that's nuanced, complicated and messy — that's what life is for everybody.

"When you tell a story that's nuanced, complicated and messy — that's what life is for everybody. That's the thing that people connect to and why it feels authentic and real. I'm telling a real thing."

Michelle Parise's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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