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Meet the Author

March 7, 2024
6:30 pm

Lyz Lenz | This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life

@ Beaverdale Books

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. Lyz is one such woman whose life fell apart after she reached a breaking point in her twelve-year marriage. In this exuberant and unapologetic book, Lyz Lenz is flipping the script on that narrative and preaching the good gospel of the power of divorce.

The end of a marriage is often seen as the failure of the individual—most often, the woman. We’ve all seen how the media portrays divorced sad, lonely, drowning their sorrows in a bottle of wine, desperate for a new man. It’s as though they did something wrong, so they’ve been cast out from society. Lyz sees divorce as a practical and powerful solution for women to take back the power they are owed, while examining why we call divorce a failure, when it’s heterosexual marriage that has been flawed all along. How can women succeed in marriage when our relationships are based on inequality?

This book weaves reportage with sociological research, literature with popular culture, and personal stories of coming together and breaking up to create a kaleidoscopic and poignant portrait of American marriage today. Lyz 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. Unlike any other book about divorce, this raucous manifesto for acceptance, solidarity, and collective female refusal takes readers on a riveting ride—all while pointing us all toward something a little more free.

PREORDER On sale February 20, 2024.


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.

photo credit: Pilsen Photo Co-op




This event will be moderated by Kali White VanBaale, a Des Moines-area creative writing professor and award-winning author of novels, short stories, essays, and articles.




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