Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.
Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nosedive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.
From the beginning of Separation Anxiety, we connect with Judy’s voice as she shares her sometimes snarky and often humorous thoughts about life, loss, and anxiety, while struggling to find new ways to cope. Wearing the dog might seem drastic or even weird, but to Judy, it makes perfect sense. She deals with the reactions of people to her choice, while still trying to find other ways to overcome her writer’s block and her marital woes.
I liked Judy and kept rooting for her to find another way to deal with the stress, something that wouldn’t necessarily make her anxiety so visible, but as time passed, it all made sense. In the end, I loved how she and Gary began to reconnect in new ways. An intriguing portrait of a marriage. 4.5 stars.