The Divorce Girl
by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
A perk of reading books by Kansas authors is that I end up knowing many of the authors whose books I read. I like knowing authors. Sometimes I know them just a little when I start a book, and by the end of the book I feel like I know them much better. Sometimes I know them well enough to see in and around their prose. Sometimes, like with The Divorce Girl, I get so caught up in the story that I forget to do any examining between the lines at all until well after the story has ended.
My heart quickly went out to Deborah, the protagonist of The Divorce Girl. I spent a lot of time worrying about her. I was worried about where the story was going. I was worried that she was going to get raped or preyed on by some horrible individual. I kept breathing little sighs of relief as I turned pages and the things I most feared for her did not happen. I liked Deborah and found myself rooting for her as she somehow seemed to maintain direction, even with all the family crap she was having to deal with. I was happy that she was able to find good people to lean on along the way.
It was a sad story, a far too real story, and yet it left me feeling hopeful and satisfied in the end.
As I put down the book when it was over, I realized I hadn't spent much time thinking about the author, at all. I'd been pulled into and wrapped up in the story. That's the best kind of book there is, as far as I'm concerned, one that just keeps pulling you from page to page, wanting to know more about the story.
Though I first met Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg more than 20 years ago (she was a teaching assistant when I was an undergrad at KU), I haven't had much contact with her in the intervening years. I've watched her career develop from afar. She is the current Poet Laureate of Kansas. The few times I've had the opportunity to hear her speak, I've been impressed by her ability to inspire. That is what I remember most about the class I took from her in college. I've often credited Caryn over the years as one of the early positive influences in my own writing. The feedback I received on the papers I wrote in her literature class still stands out as advice I return to when I find myself floundering as a writer.
Caryn has 14 published books of prose and poetry and this is her first published work of fiction. I am really looking forward to hearing her speak about her work and this book at the 2012 Kansas Authors Club convention in Salina.