University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

The Change
My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour

Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies

David Bergman, Joan Larkin, and Raphael Kadushin, Founding Editors

“Every good story is about longing, and Soderlind's The Change plunges into that aching universe from the first page. In pursuit of her own lost heart, she sets out on a road trip, and along the way beguiling obstacles and complications are tossed in her path, making this a funny and smart story of two midlife crises, the country's and the author's.”
—Lucy Jane Bledsoe, author of Lava Falls

In the throes of a classic midlife crisis, Lori Soderlind takes a sabbatical from her community college job as a journalism professor. She sets out to travel across America's rusting heart with her fourteen-year-old dog, Colby, and a used camping trailer. Making pit stops in places like Buffalo and Rockford, she explores a deeply conflicted country going through its own crises and transformations. Even as she struggles with her own impulses, she finds life and resilience among the seemingly forlorn, abandoned artifacts of former industrial glory.

With humanity and humor, Soderlind's journey introduces quirky folks along the way, including Swannie Jim of Silo City and his fawn pit bull, Champ. She attempts to channel muckraking journalist Ida M. Tarbell and celebrates complicated characters, including Robert De Niro's heartbroken veteran in The Deer Hunter. Ultimately a romance—of Soderlind's love for America, her dog, the long-term partner she left behind, and the childhood crush she remembers with a big, aching pang—The Change offers daring and often hilarious insights into loss and acceptance, especially when it takes a while to get there.


Lori Soderlind. Lori Soderlind is an award-winning essayist and journalist, and author of the memoir Chasing Montana: A Love Story.




“In vivid, candid, layered prose, Soderlind takes us on a riveting journey to discover how and why what we love isn't always what makes sense. As she sheds the things she cannot take with her, she finds that there can be light at the end of a tunnel, discovering a beginning that is not only good for her soul, but perhaps for America's writ large.”
—Amy Bass, author of One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together

“[A] quirky, entertaining memoir. . . . In straightforward prose and with a sharp eye for detail, Soderlind satisfies with a charm of her own.”
Publishers Weekly

“A significant contribution to a new wave of midwestern autobiographical writings. . . . Soderlind’s candid and life-affirming accounts capture the region’s cultural complexities in a range of chapters covering cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Louisville, and many smaller locales.”
Cleveland Review of Books

“[A] probing memoir. . . . The Change exposes the pain of owning the hollow places in one’s self and reveals luminous moments of pure love found in the simplest of people and places—moments that are worth the sorrow of an inevitable goodbye.”
Foreword Reviews

“A meandering road trip with an aging dog helps a woman find some direction in her life. . . . Ultimately, Soderlind shows how each place she visited was unique and deserving of attention. Entertaining, informative stories of a distressed America and of a woman looking for answers.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An impressive combination of thoughtful insight and delightful entertainment. . . a unique memoir that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition.”
Midwest Book Review



Download Cover: color | b/w

Download Author Photo: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam Copy


Of Related Interest


The Black Penguin
Andrew Evans


In the Province of the Gods
Kenny Fries

The Change: The sky is light blue and hopeful with fluffy white clouds in a photo of a small town's main street featuring a boarded up appliance store and a Croatian social club.

Larger images

June 2020
LC: 2019050469 PS
272 pp. 6 x 9
11 b/w illus.

Book icon
Cloth $26.95
ISBN 9780299328306
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
Review Cart