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~Separation Anxiety~

by Karen Brichoux

Heroine: Sturdy

     Wichita (wi-CHEE-ta) Gray, 28 year old grant writer for a small Chicago art museum, is unsure as to where she wants to be at this stage of her life.  But she's pretty certain she doesn't want to be defined by her lifelong friendship with best buddy Jonah LiaKos.  Increasingly worried, she decides to "break up" with Jonz (if such a thing can even be done) on the off chance that they are becoming the emotional equivalent of conjoined twins.

     But she picked a heck of a time to kick her support system out from under herself.  Her teen sister, along with her young Romeo, has decided to camp out in her apartment.  Their misery-inducing parents, the same ones from whom Cheetah also ran away as a teen, are haranguing her to bring the girl back.  And the return visit home only opens up painful new questions in Cheetah's mind and new holes in her heart.

      Toss in a one night stand that should never have happened and perverse angst over someone else snapping up Jonz now that she's tossed him away, Cheetah is in a constant state of frantic soul searching.

      Can she survive these growing pains? And will she be able to keep her family and friendships intact, or will they pass out of her life as she forges a new direction for herself?

What worked for me:

      Being in Cheetah's head was an exhausting but thought-provoking experience.  It was fascinating to relive her youth with her and then see the mature woman connect the dots of her history and reach an epiphany or two.  (And unlike some chick lit heroines, I didn't find Cheetah to be annoying.  I'd be glad to have a cup of coffee with her. )

      Every girl should have a Jonz!

      Maybe it was just the train tracks scene, but the story put me somewhat in mind of Stephen King's "Stand by Me".  

      "Separation Anxiety" had a few predictable plot points, but there were enough unexpected twists and turns to keep me reading.   The story also had enough substance to it that I found myself still thinking about it days after I had closed the cover.  (In fact, there is a reader's guide at the back of the novel, but it doesn't really give any surprises away so some folks may enjoy looking over the questions as they read.)     

      Size-wise Cheetah is sturdy like a "corn-fed farm girl", but this isn't an issue in the book.

What didn't work for me:    

       Since the story is told from Cheetah's point of view we witness the relationship dynamics only through her eyes and therefore don't really achieve intimacy with the other characters except as Cheetah discovers more about them herself.  That can make for some frustrating moments for people who like everything to be laid out in third person, with time spent in each of the main characters' heads.


       "Separation Anxiety" is a compelling tale of a young woman rearranging her view of the world.  Pop this must-read into your beach bag this summer, but don't expect to find breezy fluff between its covers as you while away the hours on the sand.

       Warning: there are some coarse words and a few references to sexual scenarios in this book.

If you liked "Separation Anxiety" you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "Inappropriate Men", "Coffee and Kung Fu", "What a Girl Wants", "Blushing Pink", "Getting Over It", "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Good in Bed", "Last Chance Saloon", "Jemima J." and "Having It and Eating It".

Have you read this book and have a comment to make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves forum or submit a review to this website


Good-bye, Mom.

I love you and will miss you forever.


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