Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman is a contemporary women’s fiction novel about a middle-aged woman struggling with the sagging middle. No, not her stomach after thirty. But rather the middle of her life. This book rocked me. Here’s why.
Judy is just your typical middle-aged woman. She’s in a job she never meant to be in after a glimpse of success in her dream career. Her beloved son has entered those awkward teenage years, and she longs for the days of closeness they once shared. Her husband is living in their basement because they can’t afford to separate.
And she starts wearing the dog.
See. Totally normal.
We’ve All Been There
I think the reason this contemporary fiction novel struck me so deeply is how relatable it is. If you haven’t started wearing your dog yet, you may start thinking about it after reading this book.
Zigman carefully articulates what everyone feels at some point in their life. As Melvin Udall asks in the movie of the same name, “Is this as good as it gets?”
I love how Zigman unpacks this question. It’s one fraught with potential devastation and hopelessness. Yet Zigman leaves us with a sense of hope in the togetherness of human nature.
Zigman approaches a common question of human existence in a new and enlightening way. By having Judy wear the dog. It seems like such a silly thing to do and yet you can get why Judy is doing it. I’m not kidding. You’re really going to start thinking about wearing the dog. The dog represents everything Judy is carrying at that point in her life and to feel the weight of the dog is to give her struggles shape. Get it? Looking for that baby sling now, aren’t you?
What I Liked About This Book
It’s human and not dramatic. That’s what is so brilliant about it. She’s wearing the dog. But because of Zigman’s gift for storytelling, you can’t help but accept this. What could be a potentially heavy topic is riddled with comedic relief in Zigman’s examination of it. The story moves quickly and leaves you feeling refreshed.
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman was definitely out of the norm for what I usually read, and it’s different enough that it almost served as a palate cleanser. This will absolutely be one of those books that you’ll read and feel better for it. I can’t wait to see what Zigman gives us next.
Katherine Center fans, you’re going to want to check this one out.