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Subprime Mortgage? Fine. Divorced With Subprime Mortgage? Ugh.

I had the same reaction Justin Fox had when he read Edmund Andrews' excellent book excerpt in last Sunday's Times magazine: Andrews frames the piece (and presumably the book) as a cautionary tale about the allure of cheap credit. But, far more than his subprime mortgage, Andrews' real problem was a divorce settlement that was eating up two-thirds of his take-home pay. (Well, that and the financial problems his second wife apparently brought to their marriage.)

That's not to trivialize the damage subprime loans have done to a lot of households. But it does slightly set in relief the risks facing nominally upper-middle-class people like Andrews, who earns a pretty good salary as an economics writer for the Times.

Having said all that, the piece was thoughtful, winning, and engagingly written. It also provided a nice window onto the day-to-day reality of a subprime mortgage mess, even if that was only the proximate cause of Andrews' problems. I'm looking forward to reading the whole book.

--Noam Scheiber