The Divorce Girl

A novel of art and soul

Release Date: July 7, 2012, Ice Cube Press. Purchase your copy today and support this wonderful press. Please scroll down for tour dates, reviews & press.

Meet Deborah Shapiro, a New Jersey teenage photographer whose parents’ outrageous divorce lands her in the biggest flea market in the free world, a Greek diner with immigration issues, a New York City taxi company, a radical suburban synagogue, a hippie-owned boutique, bowling alleys, beaches, and bagel shops. As her home explodes, a first love, a series of almost-mothers, and a comical collection of eccentric mentors show Deborah how to make art out of a life, and life from the wreckage of a broken home. Join Kansas poet laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg as she explores loss, grief, and bad behavior with humor and imagination. This coming of age story illuminates how a daring heart can turn a broken girl into a woman strong enough to craft a life of art, soul, and beauty.


“A saavy and generous-hearted book, rich and gritty and wise. There have been many well-intentioned but formulaic takes on what it is to be a child of divorce, but this unique and fearless novel, beautifully written by poet Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, is fresh and unpredictable, pulsing with its young protagonist’s wit, determination, and courage as she journeys through painful and frightening times, transporting herself by sheer force of will from a shattered world to a world made whole through self-determination and the saving grace of art.” ~Patricia Traxler, author of Blood and Forbidden Words

“Kansas Poet Laureate Mirriam-Goldberg (The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body) successfully leaps into the fiction world with her debut novel, a moving coming-of-age story 14 years in the making.” — Publishers Weekly (read whole review here)

“The Divorce Girl itself is…..wickedly, subversively funny. In fact, in its open-minded view of Jewish culture and knowledge of how children ultimately discover the stealth of their parents, I dare say that this is the novel Mordecai Richler would have written had he born a girl. Richler had the Boy Wonder in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz; Mirriam-Goldberg has Boy in The Divorce Girl. In case you don’t know, this is as high a praise as I can offer a novelist….This is likely the choicest read you’ll open this year. I loved it.” — Hubert O’Hearn, Herald de Paris

“Full of great characters and charm!” ~Laura Moriarty, author of The Center of Everything

“When her family explodes, Deborah shuts down. Her world shrinks to what she sees through her camera’s viewfinder. As she focuses on images she creates, her life emerges, filled with possibilities beyond bruises, beyond self-destruction. Art creates for her a life she could not imagine in any other way. The Divorce Girl is a visionary novel, a powerful story of pain and healing.” ~Peggy Shumaker, Alaska State Writer Laureate, and author of Just Breathe Normally

“The Divorce Girl is a fresh, interesting story done well. By turns sad and sweet, angry and funny, the book brings you right into Deborah’s life, into the house with her, into the flea-market booth exposed to the elements, behind the camera lens as she looks at her world not as a participant but as an observer. The writing is full of lovely surprises. Mirriam-Goldberg keeps her poet’s eye for detail and drops nice turns of phrase into the prose.” ~ Lisa McLendon, Wichita Eagle

The Divorce Girl is as smart and funny as its teenage protagonist, whose struggles to make sense of the chaos into which her family descends will keep you riveted. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg delivers a story that is poignant yet sharp, timeless yet fresh. Her characters come alive on the page, real as our own parents and siblings and assortment of other zany relatives. This is a book that will make you care about them all.”  ~ Katherine Towler, author of the Snow Island Trilogy

Divorce can often send children into turmoil. The Divorce Girl is a novel set in the 1970s; Deborah Shapiro copes with her parents splitting in her teenage years by seeing a whole broad stroke of the world and its many curious characters through it all. A coming of age tale with a strong dose of humor all throughout, The Divorce Girl is a must for fiction collections, not to be missed. ~ Midwest Book Review

“At the beginning of The Divorce Girl, 15-year-old Deborah confidently asserts, “I knew all about divorce.” Beset by challenges, adventures, and difficulties, but always finding transcendence, Mirriam-Goldberg’s pitch-perfect narrator grows on the reader while she grows toward the light of her womanhood and her art. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, long a celebrated Kansas poet and nonfiction writer, gives us a winning fictional debut.” ~Thomas Fox Averill, Writer-in-residence, Washburn University, is the author of rode, awarded Outstanding Western Novel of 2011.

“The Divorce Girl is wonderful and substantive. Not a flash in the pan or a novelty, this book will heal people who have been through similar experiences.”  ~Denise Low, Poet Laureate of Kansas 2007-2009, author of Ghost Stories of the New West and Natural Theologies: Essays About Literature of the New Middle West

“Beyond being a terrific read, The Divorce Girl teaches us life’s important spiritual lessons; that pain can inspire creativity and that art and creativity is the best antidote to despair. Like Dan Savage’s life-saving book, It Gets Better, this novel will help children of a difficult divorce see that the light at the end of the tunnel is not always another approaching train. Similarly, the book may inspire divorced and divorcing adults to do better for their children’s sake. This is a lot to ask of a novel that we read for pleasure, and the author delivers.” ~Harriet Lerner, author of The Marriage Rules and The Dance of Anger

“I just finished reading this book, and I am damn near speechless because I love it so much. I found myself laughing and crying throughout and not wanting it to end. The Divorce Girl is wonderful and soulful.” ~Kelley Hunt, international-touring rhythm and blues singer and songwriter

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Bring the Divorce Girl Home         Blog Tour         Media Kit         Readers Guide