Please take time to learn more about Kids Against Divorce, TreeAction, and The Marriage Education Act, all of which I am proud to have created. Please watch the compilation of national media coverage above and please read Without A Chair. I hope you’ll find it enlightening, important, and impactful.

On the verge of lost hope, Gil discovers his true love in a Psych Ward, and together they set out to build a normal life. But as family dysfunction tightens its grip and trusted friends reveal their true colors, Gil must overcome a crippling illness before Sandi returns to her old ways and he loses everyone and everything. Will a lifetime of scars disfigure his soul? Will Gil survive as a new voice?


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“As Tolkien takes you to Middle Earth, so Schel takes you to the real world of divorce. We have all heard that divorce is hard on kids, but we don't really know how hard. We think it might be hard on teens, but we don't really have a clue. We figure by the time they're adults they will probably be fine, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Prepare yourself to meet Gil, an ordinary kid whose life (physical, emotional, mental, social health) is profoundly fractured through the divorce of his parents and everything that goes with it, not just for his childhood years, teen, or college, but into his own attempts at family and adulthood. For those who have not experienced the fallout of divorce (like myself) this book is akin to Tolkien taking you on a tour of Middle Earth or Lewis Carroll taking you down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. It lets you take the "red pill" and see all that can go wrong when parents break their commitment to each other and to their kids. Read to understand. Read to be thankful. Read to be warned. Read this book.” ~ Derick Zuelner, Pastor

“Easy and hard read, all at the same time. Without a Chair was an easy read and a very hard read, all at the same time. The story is compelling and engaging, so much so that I read it in three sittings. That was the easy part. The hard part was entering into the pain of Gil and the other family members and friends in the story, trying to imagine and empathize with the heartache. I'd like to think that the journey of this neglected and abused little boy limping into manhood is a work of fiction. Perhaps it is; yet I do know from my work as a professional counselor that there are countless Gils who come into my office seeking to find the healing and understanding that has escaped them. Their stories of pain and suffering are often unimaginable, and they are left to sort through the rubble heaped upon them and forge a way forward. I hope that this author's message will serve as an impetus for us to no longer stand by silently when those we love are hurting and come to the conclusion that divorce is their only answer. It is risky to step in the mess of a hurting relationship, to be sure, and it is loving. I've learned that getting a divorce won't heal the hurt in the heart; it merely masks it. What most of my clients who are considering divorce are really saying to me is that they don't want to live "like this" anymore. I say, "Amen to that! Let's first address the pain, heal the hurts, and then decide what is the wisest way forward, with a clearer head and more stable heart. I'm grateful for this bold voice and I pray this book will be an agent of healing in a hurting world.” ~ Greg Griffin, Allies for Family Life

“Like Sandi, seem to remain unaware off their bondage…David Schel’s autobiography is a devastating account of the power of intergenerational divorce to hold captive those within its force field.  Some, like Sandi, seem to remain unaware of their bondage as they plow through marriages, ravaging hearts and sustaining the cycle of betrayal, insecurity, and anguish.  Others, like David (“Gil in the book), will do anything it takes to break free.  As a psychologist who writes and speaks on marital abandonment, the tragic and enduring consequences of parental divorce laid out in David’s narrative were all-too familiar.  It’s Schel’s keen self-awareness, his resolve to break the cycle of divorce for his own two daughters, and his commitment to fighting the scourge of divorce in the broader culture that can, and should, serve as a model for men and woman in similar circumstances.” ~ Hilary Towers, PhD, Developmental Psychologist

“Gut-Wrenching account of living throughout life experiencing family dysfunction and breakdown. This gut-wrenching book reveals the sordid inside ramifications of divorce for a child. It begins with what it’s like to feel abandoned in your earliest memories through to coping as an adult with the feelings that govern all your relationships. The book also examines the ways that a child is affected by his or her parents’ abandonment in every aspect of life, including socially and professionally. It’s one thing to be aware, as I am as a social scientist, columnist, commentator and author, of the data regarding family breakdown and to know, as I do, the research findings about the impact on children and women from family breakdown and/or divorce. It is quite another to read the personal experiences of someone who has been through not just divorce but the experience of trying to survive in an appallingly dysfunctional family. David Schel’s gripping autobiography forces the reader to experience the ugliness of selfish, self-centered parents who are unable to move beyond their own narcissism to see their children’s needs. You will not be able to view poor parenting, mental illness, emotional or family breakdown dispassionately ever again after reading this harrowing inside account of what it can really be like when no one cares enough to save you a chair.” ~Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow, Concerned Woman for America

“The reader is engaged and urged to re-think that myth that divorce is the easy, simple fix to a struggling marriage. David communicates the importance of marriage and the devastation of divorce in a compelling way that will engage and inspire the reader. It's heartfelt, truthful, and insightful. In a culture that is losing it's vision and understanding of why marriage is so vital and central to the success of society, this book is a convicting call to get back to this truth. The reader is engaged and urged to re-think that myth that divorce is the easy, simple fix to a struggling marriage. The story is well-written and shows a depth and sincerity that will touch the hearts and minds of its readers.” ~ Ashley Mclwain, Foundation Restoration

“A very compelling story. Without A Chair by David Schel is a compelling story driving home the truth that divorce devastates people. Not only husbands and wives, but the lives of their children having an incalculable ripple effect for generations. As I read through this book, I was reminded of the stories from adults during counseling sessions describing their anguish and sorrow as children of divorced parents. Stories of pain, fear, anger, and hopelessness. Adults, in their later lives, struggling with insecurities and feelings of not being good enough, valued enough, or sadly, even loved enough to have had a mom and dad in their home while growing up. These painful feelings, these scars that are still with them, these unrelenting insecurities, continue to affect them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. People who believe that divorce will end their problems and pain are sadly mistaken. For many, and especially for their children, the pain will often continue for the rest of their lives. My hope is that after reading Without A Chair, divorce will be exposed for what it is – a terrible option for marital couples experiencing relational struggles.” ~ Dr. Ken Eichler, Standing Stone Ministries

“Compelling and honest yet hopeful story of hurt and healing. Wow. Reading this story reflects the many, many adults I have worked with from divorced homes and the effects divorce and brokenness in families has on children and their adult life. With clarity, honesty, and openness, David reveals the effects of the broken family on the generations. Even more compelling, though I am a professional counselor and minister, this is also my story coming from an abusive and divorced home. A compelling story. A heartfelt story. Yet, it leaves us with not the reality of divorce and brokenness, but also a sense of the hope that one can overcome. A must read.” ~ Dr. Richard Marks, Live The Life

“I recommend this book highly. This book will keep you turning the pages right from the start. I could not put it down. It tells the story of how generations of trauma affect kids and the adults they grow to be. The characters in this story will draw out empathy and compassion at the same time as shock and disbelief. It will open your eyes to the darkest depths of what is widely accepted in our society - divorce - and its ripple effects. I recommend this book highly.” ~ Trish B.

“This will change your view on divorce.  Great read! A friend recommended this to me after going through a divorce. It's absolutely impossible to put down once you start. These days, no matter what your age or family situation, divorce has an impact on everyone. As a child of divorced parents and a divorcee myself, I found the book eye opening. It gave me perspective I hadn't experienced before and I definitely think it's a worthwhile read!” ~ Kara K.

“I’m amazed at how David was able to capture. I just finished this book, and it's the first book I've finished in a very long time! Every time I put it down I couldn't wait to get back to it. Having gone through similar circumstances, my parents divorcing when I was 2 and being under the care of a child psychologist from the time I was 3, I'm amazed at how David was able to capture the true feelings a child experiences when parents divorce! Luckily I didn't suffer the abuse that Gil did, but divorce should not be taken as easily as it is today, especially when children are involved. But they should also not be pawns in the adults power struggles either and i think that is what David so successfully depicts in "Without A Chair" I get it! And so should you!!” ~ Debbie F.

The author made it possible to have a better understanding of what people are going thru. Definitely a page turner. Read over 200 pages and couldn't wait to get back to the book to see what would happen next. Not being from a divorced family myself, the author made it possible to have a better understanding of what people are going thru and their feelings at the time their world is being turned upside down. There are many lessons to be learned by Gil's experiences. I would recommend this book to friends, divorced or not. ~ Linda R