I’m excited to introduce to you–The Divorce Girl as part of the WOW! Women On Writing blog tour. What a great, great book. I was captivated on page one and couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book. I recommend this book to ANYONE! I have a print copy to give away–from the author. Please leave a question and/or comment about the book by Sunday, August 5 at 8:00 pm CST to be entered to win (US mailing addresses only, please.)
Here’s my review:
From the first page of The Divorce Girl: A Novel of Art and Soul by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, readers will discover that it’s a well-written novel with a lively, witty, teenage voice narrating the story. Mirriam-Goldberg captivates you on page one and doesn’t let go until the end of the book. She includes unique, well-rounded characters; unusual settings; and plenty of interesting subplots as well as an understanding of how the world and people work, especially during and after a divorce.
Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-2012 Poet Laureate of Kansas. Her love of words and ability to string them together to create a masterpiece shines through in this novel. Simply stated: “It’s a good book!” Although divorce is a subject that has been written about thousands of times in YA and women’s fiction, The Divorce Girl will still fascinate readers who will be drawn into the story because of Mirriam-Goldberg’s writing. So is it YA or is it adult? Read on to find out. (And my advice ALWAYS to teachers and parents trying to decide is. . .read it yourself first. In this case, you will LOVE the book, even if you decide not to share it with your teenagers.)
It centers on Deborah, a high school student in New Jersey in the 1970s and oldest daughter of Jewish parents, who announce that they are getting divorced with no huge surprise to her. Her parents have been fighting for years, and it became progressively worse after a baby sibling died of SIDS.
At first when the divorce is announced, Deborah’s father takes a special interest in her, leaving the two younger (surviving) children with their mother. Her dad takes her regularly to eat at a diner, where a Greek hostess, Fatima, works. It soon becomes clear that he has an ulterior motive to these dad-daughter dinners. But Deborah doesn’t seem to mind. She likes the attention from her father, who is talking to her as if she is an equal.
Because of the special attention from her father and the tensions that rise with her mother during the divorce proceedings, Deborah winds up choosing to live with her father and Fatima, which causes many problems within the family, including with her grandparents.
Soon, she realizes that her father isn’t quite the man she thought he was or that he presents himself to be in public; but she doesn’t feel like she has anywhere else to go. He works her hard, too—at home, cooking and cleaning, and at a weekend auction, similar to a flea market, selling large-sized clothing.
The good thing is Deborah loves photography and has quite a talent for it, and her father allows her to take a photography course. He also allows her to get involved with a youth group at the local, and somewhat liberal, temple.
These two outlets and the people there basically save her soul from destruction, as she lives with an abusive father and is estranged from her mother.
Although this book is written with a teenage narrator, the author states that it is a book intended for adults or older teens. Deborah does face violence and abuse, and there are a few sexual encounters and several four-letter words. However, in today’s YA market, there are several books, marketed to the YA audience, that also do this.
“This is a novel for anyone who has been through challenges and found ways through by coming home to themselves and making something of their lives,” Mirriam-Goldberg states on the WOW! Women On Writing blog. “The main character is a teenager, but she crosses the threshold into being a woman on her own two feet over the course of the novel. I believe this novel can offer readers of many ages hope and inspiration.”
Mirriam-Goldberg has published a few other books, including some poetry books. Although Ice Cube Press is a small, independent publisher, they chose to publish a wonderful author with a gripping story to tell.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win by Sunday, August 5 at 8:00 pm!