Cover Image: Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

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Member Reviews

I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.   The plot of this novel is both ridiculous and relatable.   It is a quirky fun read.
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3.5 stars 

"Being a child’s primary focus is temporary, fleeting; I knew that the aperture was closing, that the light on me would eventually dim and I’d be replaced with friends."

I have mixed feelings about this book. The story has a lot of absurd parts which I think was always the intention. It's about a mom who's wearing the family dog in a baby sling, after all. But that's not all of it. There are more moments like this where you're like really? what made the author pick that choice?

"All I feel is loneliness—every cell in my body and brain is empty and devoid of what’s supposed to connect me to the rest of the world—and to Gary—and I am full of a strange new grief, that of a nonjoiner who suddenly sees what they’ve been missing out on all these years: community, connection, the quiet comfort of others."

But then there are such resonant moments. Moments where I felt like she was speaking directly to me, directly to experiences I've had, feelings I carry, and grief I have. I would have to take a break and be in the moment, and experience someone reflecting my truth so eloquently.

“No one cares how weird your life is, Judy. Or all the ways you think it’s failed you,” Gary says. “Your mother’s gone. No one sees the bird on your head except you.”

So many of us hang on to experiences and feelings (especially of inadequacy long after the source is gone.)

'Loss has made you afraid of life, but you have to stay open. Porous. You have to let all the available light—all the tiny shards of joy—still flow through you.” She closes her eyes. “Who knows what beauty the rest of the way will bring.”'

I love the image of tiny shards of joy flowing through me. I love love love that image so much.

"I feel all the available light—all the life—all the tiny shards of joy and sadness and grief and love—flow through me, the chimera of the past finally giving way to the reality of the present: we are who we are; we are doing our best; it will all work out. It is a choice—to accept, to believe, to remain—and I am choosing all of it now."

This book is full of beautiful moment. Beautiful thoughts, truths, grief and absurdity of life. I think in the end, though, I felt like it tried too hard. It was a bit too absurd. Just shy of what I would have called a really good read.

with gratitude to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This book captured my attention immediately. I was always anxious to get back to it whenever I left off. Laura Zigman writes about an anxiety ridden family with compassion, humor and the realization that despite each of their hangups everything was going to be okay.

Thank you to NetGalley and publishers.
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This was a good read.  I didn't move very quickly through the novel, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.  The author writes with humor and presents a good look inside a white, middle class family.  The relationships between the main family seemed very true to life.  The author brought up loss in a poignant and meaningful way.  I felt many emotions throughout the novel and will recommend this one to patrons.
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This book is a little quirky, starting as it does with the main character, Judy, deciding to wear her little pet dog in a baby sling at all times. That took a little getting used to -- very, very glad I kept reading, because this is an outstanding book. Judy is so relatable as she deals with mid-life issues readers will identify with. Recommend this to readers who enjoy Anne Tyler, Elinor Lipman, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Jessica Francis Kane and Emily Giffin.
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Love this story about a woman who is struggling with major losses and a world that just doesn’t understand her. Marital problems, trials of parenting and being misunderstood!  Both heartbreaking and humorous.  I just want to be her friend!
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Thank you, Netgalley and Harper Collins for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review. 

"Separation Anxiety" by Laura Zigman had the right amount of heart and humor I look for in a quirky novel. The protagonist, Judy is a 50 year-old wife and mother who feels like she is losing stability in her personal and professional life. Judy used to be a successful author of children's literature, and her marriage is anything but wedded bliss. She can't afford to divorce her pot-head, anxiety-ridden husband, Gary. She also feels her relationship with her 13 year-old son, Teddy is becoming distant and strained. And her best friend, Glenn is terminally ill. To cope with all her stressors, Judy finds an old baby sling in the basement and spontaneously decides to wear her dog, Charlotte at home and out in public. The dog becomes like a security blanket for Judy. Definitely an unhealthy coping mechanism to say the least. 

I really felt Judy's anguish and agitation throughout the entire story. She has become an embarrassment to her husband and son. She tries her best to get her life back on track, but she stumbles and fails at every turn. Judy also had a topsy-turvy relationship with her deceased mother who always made her feel inferior and weird for being different. Judy suffers from a lot of self-esteem issues because of her mother's constant judgment and rejection. A lot of reviewers are complaining that Judy is self-pitying, but I found her relatable and painfully human. But seriously, who wants to read about a fictional character who is safe and perfect? Not me. The more damaged the better. There is a strong sense of hope and determination in the second half so it's not a total downer. I chuckled a few times. I liked the humor. Very sarcastic and delightfully neurotic. I was completely smitten in Judy's kooky little world. 

Release date: March 3, 2020
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I was so surprised by this book - it was not at all what I was expecting going into it! I was expecting a comedic look at motherhood but what I got was a beautiful story about the middle aged limbo women can find themselves in. Judy's life is not quite what she though it would be. She's dealing with the loss of her parents, her marriage is failing & her teenage son no longer needs her like he did before. Her story was so relatable - trying to find ways to navigate & manage your anxieties. Trying to figure out who you are now that you're not who you were before. I laughed, I cried, I felt all of Judy's feelings. I highly recommend this book!!
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I listened to an audio snippet of the first chapter of this book and knew I had to read the whole thing. I kind of wish there was an advanced audio copy because this would have been a fantastic book on audio and that is coming from someone who usually doesn't like fiction on audio. I am at a time in my life where my anxiety levels are extremely high and for me, humor and laughter get me through a lot, so this kind of exaggerated account not only brought out the humor for me but was actually semi-relatable on some level. There were many funny scenarios throughout the book but my favorite came at the end at the dog park. I thought in the end that this dysfunctional book was even a bit heartwarming. I recommend this book If you like a good laugh.
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Writing:  4/5 Plot: 3/5  Characters: 2/5

I wanted to like this book — I loved Dating Big Bird  and Animal Husbandry — but somehow it just didn’t work for me.  What was intended to be “a hilarious, heart-breaking and thought-provoking portrait of a difficult marriage, as fierce as it is funny,” for me was just a thin veneer of attempted humor over a whole lot of neurosis, pain, and sadness.  Some stories are too cringe-worthy to be funny. 

The book opens with dysfunctional Judy deciding to wear her dog in a baby sling.  All the time.  Judy is a one-time successful children’s book author who has been suffering from writer’s block for years.  She now writes for a self-help website, though she is remarkably unable to help herself.  Husband Gary is a self-medicating pothead who has been unable to overcome his intense anxiety and has largely given up trying.  They want to divorce but can’t afford to physically separate and so cohabit the family home.  And their teenage son is … a teenager.  Need I say more?

Zigman writes well and the book does end on a positive note in the very last chapter, but the positive ending isn’t supported by the events and cringe-worthy character actions of the rest of the book.  The bulk of the book just tracks our educated, middle-class characters as they continue to not get their act together and irresponsibly run away from their problems (to be fair, Judy really did have to face a lot of depressing things, but I didn’t feel the novel really covered how she handled these things). I’m not a fan of dysfunction - we all have our problems and we all do things we regret — but I’d rather read about how people get a grip and turn things around — not about how they continue to screw up.
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I am an idiot and only intended to try out an audio excerpt and didn't mean to request this title. If I do end up reading the title, I will update my review.
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Yes, it’s thin, repetitive, hung about with loose ends and somehow maddening, and yet this novel has a kind of compulsive quality to it. Maybe it’s Zigman’s offbeat energy or the emotional notesshe touches at the book’s conclusion. Whatever, there’s some light charm here and enough energy to create a pleasing diversion.
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I had a hard time relating to the narrator in the beginning. She is extremely self-absorbed and feels sorry for herself to the point of being maudlin. Judy has spent the last few years seeing her parents through long illness and death. Now her best friend is dying of cancer. She's "separated" from her husband, but living in the same house because they can't afford separate housing. Her thirteen year-old son is separating himself from her by talking to her very little and refusing to be cuddled. Judy desperately needs somebody to cuddle. So she begins to carry her twenty pound dog in a baby sling. Everywhere. Even to her son's school programs.
Some of the reviews call Separation Anxiety hilarious. There is humor, but to me it was more like the chuckle, nod your head, I've been there kind of humor. The kind of humor we use to get us through the hard times. Judy encourages us to smile with her, not laugh at her. Very well written, with a positive ending.
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It took a while for me to get into this book, but I'm glad I persisted because ultimately it was worth the extra effort. Smart and funny, Zigman tells a story about not having any answers to the problems of living and living on after loss with gentle humor and compassion. Extra stars for the Puppet People, a delight!
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Separation Anxiety is so real. I felt like my best friend was on the phone telling me her latest crazy stories. It is such an uplifting, funny, and truth revealing read. It spoke to me in unique ways. There was something about it that felt like she was peering into my own deranged thinking! Some days really feel like everyone else is the angry dog mob and I’m the only one seeing it my way! The story echoes for me a line I read recently in another book, “Sometimes saving someone else is how we save ourselves.”
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Based on the audio excerpt, I will choosing to read more of this book in print rather than listening to the audiobook. I'm not able to judge the entire book based on the clip, but I do know that I didn't love the narrator and the first 5 min didn't engage me very well.
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I love to read chick lit and mom-lit every so often for some light enjoyable reading. When given the opportunity to read Separation Anxiety I thought that’s what I’d be reading. The book was extremely enjoyable, yet so much more. Every emotion hit me, and as a woman nearing Judy’s age with children, very relatable in good and sad ways. I truly enjoyed this authors writing I had to look up her other work and look forward to reading more by Laura Zigman. Thank you Netgalley!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review  
Overall, I enjoyed this book but I had issues with how mental illness was portrayed. I did like that it shows how beneficial dogs can be for improving mental health although the fake service dog issue has really gotten out of hand in today's world that I feel it hurts the legit people who have trained service animals. As far as mental illness was portrayed,  I feel like it was trivialized and felt bad for Gary to be struggling so much. 
There were some funny moments and some very sad moments too and other than what I've stated above, I did enjoy this book.
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This is not the kind of book I normally read, but I was really intrigued by the cover. As it turns out, I adored this book. It was funny, sad and very relatable. It is a book about loss and hope and love. I was crying my eyes out by the end and appreciate this book for what it is. The simplicity of it mixed with the unease of some of it really stuck a cord with me. This book is not as light as the cover would have you believe and that is a good thing.
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I absolutely adored Separation Anxiety!!! 

Judy is a mother who is struggling with her son getting older and needed her less, her once promising career is going nowhere, her best (and pretty much only) friend is losing her long battle to cancer, and the fact that her marriage failed but they cannot finically make it official.  She knows she needs to pick herself by her bootstraps and find her new normal...even if it means babywearing her dog lol! 

If you are are 40(ish) or older Separation Anxiety should be required reading!  Right off the bat, I found this novel extremely over the top, but crazily enough, so darn relatable!  Laura Zigman does an amazing job writing snarky, realistic humor with deep heartfelt feelings— really hard to explain, but when you read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about!  I love when I read a novel and at about halfway through I already know I don’t want the book to end!  I have already told my friends to pre-order this 5 star gem because I need to discuss this fantastic book!!  Must read!!!
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