Book Review: Separation Anxiety: A Novel

Separation Anxiety: A Novel Book
Separation Anxiety, by Laura Zigman

Ah, another book for the middle-aged woman in me. Separation Anxiety: A Novel by Laura Zigman is another book targeted at women my age today. I have to say I am wondering if there is just a huge onslaught of these books all of a sudden, or I am just noticing them because I am the target audience. Hmmmm….

Anyway, I read about this book in the New York Times Book Review section and immediately downloaded it on my kindle. I am middle-aged and own a dog. Perhaps there was something I could truly relate to in this book. Perhaps not?

The story is about a 50-year-old woman who found her baby’s sling in the basement as she attempts to get organized and begins to wear her dog around in it almost all of the time — first in private and then in public. Sort of like an emotional support dog tied to her hip. The dog’s weight, about 20 lbs, provides the character with comfort and a sense of being needed by a living being in ways that her husband, who she is estranged from, and her tween son no longer seem to need her.

It’s a light-hearted book that can be read in a few hours. If you are a middle-aged woman looking to escape from your own distress at your situation both professionally and personally speaking, Judy Vogel, the title character, offers a brief respite into her world that may be different to yours, but that you may feel resonates with you. Such as,

Did you have a shining moment in your career and now can’t seem to find not only success, but any type of spark toward it?

Are your children too old to be held and yearning to be more independent, all the while you want to hold them a little bit longer — or like a lot longer?

Are you taking to doing quirky things to get your emotional needs met? Maybe not carrying a dog around in a sling, but perhaps over exercising, over eating, fining yourself at every salon in town all the time, chasing the elixir of youth?

Judy Vogel offers you a journey into how she is trying to make meaning of her world at this time in her life answering these questions in her own way. This is a book about middle-aged anxiety, but it is not a serious book, but rather a light and frothy one about how these things slowly creep up on us all and then how we are slammed with the truth we are living. Where we go from there is anyone’s guess.

My hope with reading this book was to give me a sense that there is no quick answer, but rather a capacity to live into what is unfolding and make peace with it and one’s self. If a dog on one’s hip helps? Hey, why not!