REVIEW: SEPARATION ANXIETY, BY LAURA ZIGMAN

 
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.

***

REVIEW: SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, BY KAREN HARRINGTON

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Sarah Nelson has a past she would like to forget. A history that makes her worry about her own mental health in the future.

Narrated in Sarah’s first person voice, Sure Signs of Crazy takes us into the world of her thoughts and feelings, and as we follow along with her, we can feel what she feels. As a 12-year-old, she is precocious, real, and likeable.

This book is a sequel to JANEOLOGY, the story of what happened to Jane, the mother of Sarah and her twin Simon, and the tragedy that became Sarah’s life.

Why does her father seem so distant? How do Sarah’s two sets of diaries help her to figure out her life? And what summer events change her life from boring to interesting and then to something totally unexpected?

Sarah seemed like a child I would like to know, and reminded me of my own preadolescence, from the embarrassments that plague us to the crushes we think will stay with us forever. I was glad that she found a way to cope with her life, and would love to see what happens to her next. 4.5 stars.