This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life (Hardcover)
When Lyz Lenz walked into her living room to find that her husband had taken down a kitschy sign she bought for $3 at Target, she knew their marriage was over. Of course, it wasn’t about the sign - though he had promised in couples therapy to stop stealing her things - it was about the apathy, the garbage that only got taken out by her, the dismissive way he treated her writing career, the unequal childcare, and the unshakable feeling that her husband just really didn’t like her as a person. Really, Liz had known for a while that their marriage was probably doomed to fail, but it took years for her to finally pull the trigger. Why? In part because of the pervasive myth that divorce is something that will ruin your life and wreck you as a woman. But what Liz found on the other side of her marriage wasn’t doom and gloom and copious amounts of wine; it was freedom.
Endearing, heartfelt, hilarious, and a scathing remark on the state of marriage in America - and that’s coming from a happily married person!
Check out the audiobook— From Snazzy September Staff Picks
A deeply validating manifesto on the gender politics of marriage (bad) and divorce (actually pretty good!) in America today, and an argument that the former needs a reboot—from journalist and proud divorcée Lyz Lenz
Studies show that nearly 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women—women who are tired, fed up, exhausted, and unhappy. We’ve all seen how the media portrays divorcées: sad, lonely, drowning their sorrows in a bottle of wine. Lyz Lenz is one such woman whose life fell apart after she reached a breaking point in her twelve-year marriage. But she refused to take part in that tired narrative and decided to flip the script on divorce.
In this exuberant and unapologetic book, Lenz makes an argument for the advantages of getting divorced, framing it as a practical and effective solution for women to take back the power they are owed. Weaving reportage with sociological research and literature with popular culture along with personal stories of coming together and breaking up, Lenz creates a kaleidoscopic and poignant portrait of American marriage today. She argues that the mechanisms of American power, justice, love, and gender equality remain deeply flawed, and that marriage, like any other cultural institution, is due for a reckoning. A raucous argument for acceptance, solidarity, and collective female refusal, This American Ex-Wife takes readers on a riveting ride—while pointing us all toward a life that is a little more free.
About the Author
Lyz Lenz is a journalist and the author of God Land and Belabored. She has written for Insider, The New York Times, Marie Claire, and The Washington Post. Lenz also writes the newsletter Men Yell at Me, about the intersection of politics and personhood in red-state America. She lives in Iowa with her two kids.
“It’s been more than fifty years since Muriel Rukeyser wrote: ‘What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.’ Now Lyz Lenz has written the truth about matrimony in general and her marriage in particular, and the result is similarly tectonic. This is the perfect historic moment to re-examine marriage, and Lenz’s approach, which combines memoir and reportage, is breezily devastating. She is a modern-day Samson, cheerfully pulling down the pillars of an institution that hasn’t received anywhere near the skepticism it deserves. I loved it.”—Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Prom Mom
“This is a book that every woman who dates men needs, to any woman who’s been told to want and need a certain prototype in order to achieve happiness. This American Ex-Wife is a beautiful, enraging account of a woman who craved for more and found it with the first and most important person of all: herself. Passionate, visceral, and honest, Lyz Lenz is an unflinching voice in the world of arts & letters and this book will stand as a monument within our most pressing issues today in how romantic intimacy and domestic labor intersect.”—Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of Caul Baby
“This American Wife is a bomb, a bouquet (but not a wedding bouquet), a memoir, a manifesto, a history, intermittently hilarious, and a total joy to read, at least for anyone ready to recognize how often marriage is a raw deal for women and divorce a liberation. We need new stories about what we need, and in this book Lyz Lenz offers a bunch of them.”—Rebecca Solnit, bestselling author of Men Explain Things to Me