Home > Kansans, other people's stuff, writing > The Divorce Girl – a Review

The Divorce Girl – a Review

June 28th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Coming July 7 to a bookstore near you:  The Divorce Girl by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.

The ‘70s was a decade of station wagons, “All in the Family,” and polyester. And while some of us are glad that leisure suits have disappeared from the scene, readers of a certain age might get a bit nostalgic when returning to that decade of “I’m O.K, You’re O.K.,” green mascara and peasant blouses.

“Divorce Girl,” which will be released July 7, is a coming-of-age novel written by Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. Mirriam-Goldberg’s story may send the reader back to his or her own teenage years, those high school days which were often fraught with insecurities, hormones, and confusion. Throw in a heaping dose of parental craziness as a family falls apart, and you have “Divorce Girl.”

“Divorce Girl” is the story of Deborah Shapiro, a Jewish girl living in a New Jersey suburb. She spends several years wandering without a map through the aftermath of her parents’ separation.

The distance grows between mother and daughter, but the relationship with her father becomes increasingly uneasy as well. Deborah and her father spend Saturdays selling polyester clothing at a flea market. Lonely, she tries to find friends, tries to find a place, anyplace, to belong, but discovers that her world is covered with quicksand, that there are no sure steps.

To maintain her own hold on sanity, Deborah focuses on her passion, photography. She joins a small photography group which meets in the back of a clothing store. When her photography mentor talks about make a panorama or collage of sorts, Deborah begins to document the “domestic destruction” in her home.

She photographs her father’s recliner in the front lawn, her mother’s coffee table turned upside down near the curb, her father taking her mother’s wedding dress into the back yard. In a battle between her parents, the wedding dress is ripped apart, half burning, half in the mud. On film, Deborah captures fights and sadness and bruises.

Written in first person, the reader may feel as if he or she has stumbled onto Deborah’s diary or journal. The narrator’s voice is authentic and revealing.

Mirriam-Goldberg tells the story well. With the language of a poet and the acumen of one who understands family dysfunction from the inside out, the author delivers a fascinating story of loss and grief, of endurance and healing.

The Divorce Girl is published by Ice Cube Press.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, author of The Divorce Girl.


Kansans, other people's stuff, writing

  1. June 29th, 2012 at 09:31 | #1

    I’m so looking forward to reading this book!

  2. Janet Fish
    June 30th, 2012 at 16:36 | #2

    I’m curious, is this written in present tense or past tense?

  3. June 30th, 2012 at 16:43 | #3

    Janet – The novel is written in the past tense.

  4. July 1st, 2012 at 07:50 | #4

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!