From The Author Of Girls On Fire Comes A Psychologically Riveting Novel Centered Around A Woman With No Memory, The Scientists Invested In Studying Her, And The Daughter Who Longs To Understand Who Is Wendy DoeThe Woman, Found On A Peter Pan Bus To Philadelphia, Has No Money, No ID, And No Memory Of Who She Is, Where She Was Going, Or What She Might Have Done She S Assigned A Name And Diagnosis By The State Dissociative Fugue, A Temporary Amnesia That Could Lift At Any Moment Or Never At All When Dr Benjamin Strauss Invites Her To Submit Herself For Experimental Observation At His Meadowlark Institute For Memory Research, She Feels Like She Has No Other Choice To Dr Strauss, Wendy Is A Female Body, Subject To His Investigation And Control To Strauss S Ambitious Student, Lizzie Epstein, She S An Object Of Fascination, A Mirror Of Lizzie S Own Desires, And An Invitation To Wonder Once A Woman Is Untethered From All Past And Present Obligations Of Womanhood, Who Is She Allowed To Become To Alice, The Daughter She Left Behind, Wendy Doe Is An Absence So Present It Threatens To Tear Alice S World Apart Through Their Attempts To Untangle The Mystery Of Wendy S Identity As Well As Wendy S Own Struggle To Construct A New Self Wasserman Has Crafted A Jaw Dropping, Multi Voiced Journey Of Discovery, Reckoning, And Reclamation Searing, Propulsive, And Compassionate, Mother Daughter Widow Wife Is An Ambitious Exploration Of Selfhood From An Expert And Enthralling Storyteller You know how you change yourself into a different person How This is gonna sound cheesy, but He blushed What they say in there, it s true You change by making one decision you wouldn t have made before You walk into the meeting Even going to the meeting and leaving before it starts It s something One decision at a time You are what you choose, right All you have to do is choose different How much can something change before it becomes You know how you change yourself into a different person How This is gonna sound cheesy, but He blushed What they say in there, it s true You change by making one decision you wouldn t have made before You walk into the meeting Even going to the meeting and leaving before it starts It s something One decision at a time You are what you choose, right All you have to do is choose different How much can something change before it becomes something else Have you ever done something out of character Something that is really just not you I have had the pleasure only very few times Cowardice is soooo much easier Life takes a lot less energy if you do not place yourself in risky situations It had been a really tough year, in a variety of ways that I will not bore you with I needed to do something to break out of my suffocating shell, so decided the time was right for a cross country adventure And managed it, sort of Bought an old twenty foot, three and a half ton stick shift Post Office truck for three hundred something bucks at an auction somewhere in New Jersey Recruited some friends to join, then three others when those dropped out, fitted the thing out with a carpet and some tossed furniture, and we set out The vehicle did not make it all the way to the other coast, but that s not the point Who the hell was that 20 year old guy who managed this enterprise, got it together, made it happen He was a stranger to me How many of us have these other people inside us, or that we create on the fly, to meet a need Are they any less true versions of us than the versions that came before, or that arrive later Robin Wasserman Image from LitHubRev up your gray cells We re going for a ride In Mother Daughter Widow Wife, Robin Wasserman explores the notion of women defining themselves Wendy Doe was found on a Peter Pan bus bound for Philadelphia, maybe missed the Neverland stop no ID, no name, no idea where she d been heading, or where she had come from, no memory of who she was, or had ever been Must have left her baggage on the bus, if she had even brought any with her I wanted to write a book about amnesia that was a story not about finding out about the past but about building a new life from scratch, and trying to figure out who you would be if you had no memories, and no baggage, and no obligations For me it was a chance to explore the science of memory, the history of psychology from Bookreporter Wendy is not the only character in this novel contending with such issues Having been one sort of a person for so long, there are others who cross a line and become, for a time at least, some other person Wendy s is the most dramatic shift, as her prior self no longer resides in her memory at all The book was clearly also an exploration for Wasserman for personal reasons can you discuss the various influences on your book Bach fugues General Hospital Abandoned mental asylums The hysterics of the Salp tri re Dropping out of grad school Growing up in the Philly suburbs Loneliness Rage Paris Ongoing existential confusion about what it means to be an adult woman without any of the supposed trappings partner, kid, house, etc of adulthood. Q A from Lit Hub interviewThere is Lizzie Epstein, a research fellow, who just landed one of the plum jobs in her field She is assigned Wendy as her project by the head of the Meadowlark Institute, psych research superstar, Dr Benjamin Strauss Lizzie is almost as subject to Strauss s charisma as Wendy is to his control She is re booting her career after a bit of a mis step on the other coast Lizzie s interaction with Wendy helps fuel her own questions about what she wants, what she can be The Widow, Elizabeth, is Lizzie at age forty eight, having married, and now survived Dr Stuart Elizabeth had already gone through a change in self identification when she married Benjamin Her story is about how she struggled with wanting a career, while smitten with Stuart We see her now, at forty eight, then, as a star struck student, and also get looks at her efforts to find, or define her true self, as she carves an intellectual room of her own, away from him and his work, in the years between.Wendy sees herself as a body into which her consciousness has been dropped She could as easily have been named Wendy DeNovo She has zero recollection of her prior life, but has retained cognitive capacity and internalized learning She can express herself perfectly fine But it takes constant exposure to find out what she likes and dislikes What s your favorite color, Wendy Let me think about that for a second There is an interesting dynamic at play during Wendy s time with Elizabeth at the institute She may not recognize her own face, but she is putting together a personality Was it the one she had mislaid Maybe, maybe not But, we are assured that once Wendy recovers her memory, her current personality will vanish, a nice word for die So Wendy has an incentive to not get well What kind of symptom wants to find its own cure The Daughter is Alice, Wendy s college age daughter She comes to the Institute looking for clues to who the Wendy side of her mother was, maybe to help her figure out who it is she wants to be And in going through this process finds a way to express unsuspected aspects of herself.Alice is primarily a daughter in terms of her role, as it relates to the title of the book Lizzie is a daughter, wife, and widow, and Wendy may be a wife and mother, but only in her prior existence The Wendy we know is single and childless But slotting characters into roles is certainly not the way to go about this The book is about what women might do if freed of the roles of mother, daughter, widow, and wife Can Alice be her fullest self without seeing herself through the eyes of her parents Wendy is literally a whole new person, once removed from the roles of mother and wife Lizzie was all about work, until encountering Stuart Elizabeth Lizzie s role as a daughter is explored as is her role as a wife, a step mother and widow Stepping away from the roles she was given, and has taken on, is her challenge What do I do now There is a lot going on here that gives the challenges the characters take on added oomph fugue fyo o nounnoun fugue plural noun fuguesMusic a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase the subject is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the partsPsychiatry a state or period of loss of awareness of one s identity, often coupled with flight from one s usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy This is what Wendy is experiencing The music element is explored as well, and best of all, the combination of the two There is a patient at the institute who cannot form new memories, but he manages to play Bach s Unfinished Fugue over and over Benjamin is also particularly fond of the form Benjamin said the fugue was like the self frugal subjects inverting, subverting, transforming over time, but always, somehow, ineffably and fundamentally the same He said the fugue was like the mind, rigid rules imposed on finite elements spawning an infinity of combinatorial possibility, a generative complexity from which arose thought, beauty, human consciousness He said fugue was a junction of reason and unreason, enlightenment rationalism fused with renaissance mysticism, a limited space where finite met infinite He said Bach used music to encode the divine like our neurons, Benjamin said, our axons and dendrites, our neurotransmitters, every mind its own creator which tells us a lot about Benjamin Another motif that permeates is Augustine Liz takes on a project, looking into the history of a French woman named Augustine, who had become the poster child for the hysteria diagnosis so popularly stamped on uncooperative women in the late 19th century, and sadly, well beyond, a lost girl held hostage in a house of science, the genius men reducing her to a pathology Did she have the maladies they saw, or did they create them, and did she create her own malady Saint Augustine is brought into the mix as well Lizzie had puzzled over this line from the Confessionsthan any other Any duration is divisible into past and future the present occupies no spaceAnd yet Augustine also said the past and future were only figments Consequence there is no now, there are no thens There is only memory and imagination, no differential of reality wedged between But what about those memories Do they fully define who we are That is certainly a popular view Memories make us who we are They create our worldview in ways we hardly realize Like a character made of Legos, we re built of blocks of memory that all fit together to form our consciousness How can it be otherwise Aug 8, 2017 Psychology Today Surely we are not purely memory Perhaps we are, at least in equal measure, our decisions And where is the line between growth and change When does identity, the accumulation of memories we have and decisions we have made allow us to cast off a crusty husk and take on new wings The men in this book are all absent in ways large and small, Alice s father never asks her about herself Strauss, what we see of him, maintains a dual life, of which Lizzie only gets to see a part She sees her father as a lesser being for the fact that her mother left him One character gets into a relationship with a guy precisely because she wants to remain unseen, and he fits the bill Yet another guy is polite and considerate to the point of the total absence of passion So not a lot to hang onto if you need a relatable male figure here But then this is really about the women and their self definitions, so it is what it is Mother Daughter Widow Wife is a remarkable novel, engaging enough for the struggles its characters take on, and incredibly stimulating for the notions considered What makes us who we are is always an interesting concept What pathways might appear for women freed of or having wrested themselves away from society s expectations is likewise a fascinating, eternal subject about humanity How much of us is nature, and how much nurture The Augustinian and musical deep dives were both fun and stimulating I did not feel a deep empathy for the characters, well, maybe except for Wendy But the bravura look at the making and remaking of selves made it all worth the trip.Review posted July 3, 2020Publication date June 23, 2020I received an ARE of this book from Scribner in return for a fugue free review Thanks, too, to MC You know who you are EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pagesWasserman, a former children s book editor, has writtenthan ten YA novels, including a series that was developed for the Lifetime Channel Her essays have appeared in the NY Times, The LA Review of Books, and Tin House, and her stories have appeared in several anthologies This is her first novel for adults.Interviews Lithub May 19, 2016 Robin Wasserman Respect the Power of the Teenage Girl for Girls on Fire The Atlantic October 23, 2013 Stephen King Saved My Life Items of Interest NamUS a missing persons clearinghouse Wikipedia Louise Augustine Gleizes Bookreporter.com Wasserman s elevator pitch for the book at 7 26 of the videoSongs Music Bach s Unfinished Fugue Pat Benetar Love is a Battlefield Jessye Norman Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child Review to followFor starters I felt the title waspowerful than the book I was bored often.Then I d getinterested invested.Then bored again..Had positives and negatives for me More later I m back I don t think I fully understand this bookI knew that a woman had disappeared presumably committed suicideI understood that Lizzie a scientist was hired by the Senior scientist, Dr Benjamin Strauss to to examine, scrutinize, and analyze a woman w Review to followFor starters I felt the title waspowerful than the book I was bored often.Then I d getinterested invested.Then bored again..Had positives and negatives for me More later I m back I don t think I fully understand this bookI knew that a woman had disappeared presumably committed suicideI understood that Lizzie a scientist was hired by the Senior scientist, Dr Benjamin Strauss to to examine, scrutinize, and analyze a woman who was found on a bus with amnesia, in a fugue state They named the woman Wendy Doe Alice was Wendy s daughter but we learn this about twenty years later Alice wants to learn as much as she can about her mother and needed Lizzie Elizabeth s help Between past and present storytelling..Wendy, Lizzie Elizabeth,Alice each narrating, divided into XIV sections.I felt a combination of confusion, boredom, with occasional real interest I felt held hostage to keep reading. note, clearly I m responsible and could have stopped reading instead I took twice as many notes thinking I d find answers if I kept at it.I wasn t able to fully comprehend the depths of inquiry this book was asking of us about memory and identity women s bodies and who they belong to I felt like a flunkee.which made me feel kinda crappy about myself I thought if I readI d feel better..by understanding .Unfortunately I didn t feel tons better.BUT.there WERE PARTS I ENJOYED.I felt most connected to Lizzie Epstein the scientistBut mostly I felt trapped in the same way Wendy Doe did when she had no memory..or didn t understood what was happening to her I know that mothers and daughters together are a powerful force to reckon with but I struggled with the most basic themes of the complexities of their separation..Reading this book was a little maddening not sure what went wrong I m struggling now trying to explain it.My own husband liked watching me squirm WHAT I honestly needed helpPaul laughed at me He said struggling is good for you I hated him Lol A simple sentence could knock me off my comfort mountain Her mother s life was not defined by its end, any than Alice s life is defined by its beginning.WHAT DOES THAT REALLY mean I danced that sentence around in my head a half dozen times trying to imagine the mother and Alice at different stages of their lives Yep.felt lost My brain hurt Still hurts DO NOT PASS GO.GO DIRECTLY TO OTHER REVIEWS They reenthralling Please don t let my limitations lack of understanding the contextual purpose influence others from reading this book Other readers loved it I Sincerely want to thank Scriber Publishing, Netgalley, and Robin Wasserman.A low 3 star rating Is this smoke coming out of my frying brain cells Sure, it is I need an urgent transplant because my brain is not functioning properly It worked too much to understand this book and I hear the alarm bells and whooshing sound in my ears Yes, it was too much to handle This book terribly exhausted me and at some parts I failed to understand what the author meant Maybe I m not smart enough or I m not in the great mood to focus but I m lost There are so many parts are greatly written and I truly Is this smoke coming out of my frying brain cells Sure, it is I need an urgent transplant because my brain is not functioning properly It worked too much to understand this book and I hear the alarm bells and whooshing sound in my ears Yes, it was too much to handle This book terribly exhausted me and at some parts I failed to understand what the author meant Maybe I m not smart enough or I m not in the great mood to focus but I m lost There are so many parts are greatly written and I truly enjoyed but at some parts I lost my interest and I wanted to stop and put it on my dnf shelf This is different kind of Switzerland book because normally when I give a book three stars I don t enjoy them much but I also don t hate them This time I enjoyed some parts of the book mother daughter relationship, mystery about the women suffering from amnesia, moving back and forth to learn Wendy and Alice s connection but I also hated vague, slow burn, flat pacing and big plot holes I didn t get the answers I needed I was not intelligent enough to read the secret messages of the lines We re introduced Lizzie, a scientist, starts to work Neuroscience facility, hired by Dr Benjamin Strauss She finds a big opportunity to work on a rare case Wendy Doe, suffering from amnesia, fugue state, brought out the facility.And decades later, Lizzie meets with Alice at her doorstep Alice s mother is presumed dead but Alice believes that she is alive When she was younger, her mother disappeared for months in fugue state and then she returned back So she thinks it could happen again and she needs Lizzie s help.This book is about losing yourself and giving up your life, your identity and how to get them back, how to rediscover yourself As far as I get from the long, windy chapters and the small clues I gathered from going back and forth to the stories of three women, the reason they gave up so much and lost themselves connected to the men.This is dark, complex, compelling feminism and re discovery story like a phoenix s rising from the ashes When I read some parts I felt like I found a unique gem but pacing, moving in the dark and plot holes, unanswered questions, bizarre dialogues failed me At some parts I asked myself WTH I m reading What does it mean It sthan thought provoking and mostly mind numbing, brain cell eliminating, exhausting train ride for me I m giving my 3 stars as I mentioned at the beginning I still adore author s talent and motivation It s still great reading but I think I need at least 12 hours sleep because this book made me feel like I ran 15K marathon And I felt like I just rent inside my head to a noisy construction company building a shopping mall complex My head aches so much Special thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for sharing this ARC in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestMOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE is an interesting book that getsinteresting as you read because it goes in several directions that you probably won t expect The format is a bit tricky, because it s told in multiple timelines with multiple POVs It took me a shamefully long time to figure that out going in so I ll detail a little about what s going on to make it easier for others.Lizzie is an ambitious student working at a research in Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestMOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE is an interesting book that getsinteresting as you read because it goes in several directions that you probably won t expect The format is a bit tricky, because it s told in multiple timelines with multiple POVs It took me a shamefully long time to figure that out going in so I ll detail a little about what s going on to make it easier for others.Lizzie is an ambitious student working at a research institution Her professor gives her a golden opportunity to study a woman who has been checked in to the institute who has dissociative amnesia Her POV takes place in the past Elizabeth is grown up Lizzie, now widowed and no longer involved in science Her POV takes place in the present Wendy is the name given to the woman with amnesia short for Wendy Doe who is surprisingly cynical about her situation Her POV takes place in the past Alice is Wendy s daughter She s looking into her mother s checkerboard past now that she s gone missing again Her POV is in the present.These three women and the roles they play in the narrative gradually intertwine Over the course of the novel, you learnabout what drives Lizzie, what happened traumatic incident happened to Wendy, and how Alice lives under the shadow of her own psychological problems that remain largely unchecked The psychology neuroscience angle doesn t come into play as centrally as I thought it would, and this book isn t quite the thriller I imagined it would be based on the blurb and the cover It s almost like a domestic drama, like Lianne Moriarty would write, where it takes these intimate scenes from people s lives and uses them to do an exhaustive character study on some truly flawed and yet completely relatable characters.The first two thirds of this book read much faster than the last third I did feel like it slowed down a little, but before I could get bored, Wasserman threw a curveball that completely changed my feelings about one of the other characters in the book and put their relationship with another character in a wholly new light It made me realize how careful the foreshadowing was, and let me read the story with new eyes I m always impressed when an author can do that successfully as it shows such careful planning MOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE is the type of book that will do really well in book clubs and I wouldn t be surprised to see it topping the best seller charts when it comes out It made me realize that I have some other Wasserman titles in my TBR pile that I really ought to read, because I m a sucker for books about morally grey women and she s quite good at writing them Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 3.5 stars Filled with complex emotions and topics but wordy and longWendy Doe is found in Philadelphia without an ID and no memory of who she is She becomes a patient at Dr Benjamin Strauss Meadowlark Institute basically her only alternative for being cast out on the streets Dr Strauss and his young student, Lizzie, study Wendy, fascinated by her fugue diagnosis Meanwhile, years later, Wendy s daughter Alice is looking for her mother, who has disappeared again Wondering if her mother s past disapp Filled with complex emotions and topics but wordy and longWendy Doe is found in Philadelphia without an ID and no memory of who she is She becomes a patient at Dr Benjamin Strauss Meadowlark Institute basically her only alternative for being cast out on the streets Dr Strauss and his young student, Lizzie, study Wendy, fascinated by her fugue diagnosis Meanwhile, years later, Wendy s daughter Alice is looking for her mother, who has disappeared again Wondering if her mother s past disappearance which she never knew about could be tied to the current one Alice searches out Benjamin Strauss and Lizzie She discovers Lizzie is now a young widow and begins a journey into both her mother s past, and Lizzie sEvery daughter became a mother, every mistress a wife every wife a widowThis is a hard book for me to rate, even several weeks after finishing it Is it a brilliant work examining womanhood and love or a frustrating tale that leaves you feeling unresolved This is certainly a complex book that features complex science, emotions, and feelings Wasserman has done her research, and there are pages and pages devoted to the science of dissociative fugue, amnesia, andI won t lie it s a lot There were times I found myself just skimming those sections, because it was a bit much for me I didn t care much for the character of Alice, and I m not entirely sure why, because her mother is missing presumed dead by suicide by everyone except Alice , and she s worried But there s something about Alice that just didn t make her particularly sympathetic to me As for Lizzie, even though she didn t make the best of choices, I liked herMaybe I identified better with her We get to see Lizzie in the past and present, and Wasserman does a good job of capturing the yearning of loving someone who doesn t deserve you and the idea of becoming someone else for love Even Wendy is hard to care about sometimes, because she just doesn t seem to care herself To her, her memory is a thing she s lost, but because she can t remember, she doesn t seem too concernedYou don t get it I don t not want it back, and I don t want it back There is no it You can t miss what never happenedWhat was so hard with this book is that there were just so many words Oh the words Words about science, words about feelings, words, words, words It just felt long I wasn t entirely invested in the story, but I did want to find Alice s mother, but then everything just felt sort of eh and unresolved, and yeah I don t know So much thinking, not much happening I think this novel probably presents some brilliant ideas and representations, but they went over my head 2.75 stars, rounded to 3 here I received a copy of this novel from Scribner and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review Blog Twitter Facebook Instagram PaperBackSwap Smashbomb 3.5 stars If you were a fan of Wasserman s last book, GIRLS ON FIRE, I want to make sure you know right away that this is a much slower book I could tell it would wrestle with some tough stuff, but given the juicy hook and her previous book I wasn t expecting the slow pace and I think I would ve had a better experience if I d known that.The hook of this book is a woman in a fugue state, Wendy Doe, who is at the center of two other women s stories Wendy has lost all her memories and has ended 3.5 stars If you were a fan of Wasserman s last book, GIRLS ON FIRE, I want to make sure you know right away that this is a much slower book I could tell it would wrestle with some tough stuff, but given the juicy hook and her previous book I wasn t expecting the slow pace and I think I would ve had a better experience if I d known that.The hook of this book is a woman in a fugue state, Wendy Doe, who is at the center of two other women s stories Wendy has lost all her memories and has ended up as a patient at a Neuroscience facility where Lizzie has just started a fellowship It is an opportunity to study something very rare, but it s not what in line with Lizzie s previous studies Wendy is presented to her, almost as a gift, by Dr Strauss, the renowned scientist who runs the facility Lizzie is feeling lost after the end of a relationship and the sudden failure of the projects she d worked on in grad school, and takes what Strauss offers because she doesn t know what else to do.Alice s mother has just disappeared, and while everyone else insists she s dead, Alice discovers that when she was young her mother was missing for months while in a fugue state and wonders if it could have happened again She shows up on Lizzie s doorstep decades later sending them both back into the past.It s a very juicy hook, and it set my expectations as a reader And there are some mysteries for us to solve But that isn t Wasserman s main concern What she really wants to do is consider Alice now and Lizzie at these two different points in time, and the way that these three women lose themselves, give themselves up, or become someone else either through or because of men When these stories all come together, when we get to see the depth of their confusion, their struggle with their own sense of self, the book really comes together Unfortunately for me, it took so long to get there and then it couldn t sustain itself Eventually one man becomes such a villain that it opens up a whole set of new discoveries which we then basically drop and wrap up instead of diving into I wanted all of the book to be what it was at its best, the third quarter of it, instead of what most of it was Sometimes it s really hard to judge a book when you feel like there s a better book hiding inside it, that if you carved some parts away and expanded other parts it would be what you want it to be It s an unfair thing to ask of a book, but it s also the real reaction I had 2.5 StarsThis book was okay The writing was beautiful BUT the book really gets bogged down by clinical discussions and descriptions The writing was lovely and when I was actively reading about the characters and the plot I really enjoyed it but some of the technical aspects bored me to tears Wasserman can certainly write and write well but this just wasn t my cup of tea Maybe I am not as smart as I think I am Thank you NetGalley, Scribner and Robin Wasserman for the opportunity to read this2.5 StarsThis book was okay The writing was beautiful BUT the book really gets bogged down by clinical discussions and descriptions The writing was lovely and when I was actively reading about the characters and the plot I really enjoyed it but some of the technical aspects bored me to tears Wasserman can certainly write and write well but this just wasn t my cup of tea Maybe I am not as smart as I think I am Thank you NetGalley, Scribner and Robin Wasserman for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review all opinions are my own. NetGalley A woman, Wendy Doe, is found on a bus, penniless and disoriented, suffering from amnesia She s taken to a psychological institute to be examined and studied The doctor who treats her is Benjamin Strauss His research assistant, Lizzie, also studies Wendy for her research project we hear from her while she s working with Wendy, and we hear from her 20 years later We also hear from Alice, Wendy s daughter, again 20 years later Sounds confusing and, at first, it is but you get used to it.T A woman, Wendy Doe, is found on a bus, penniless and disoriented, suffering from amnesia She s taken to a psychological institute to be examined and studied The doctor who treats her is Benjamin Strauss His research assistant, Lizzie, also studies Wendy for her research project we hear from her while she s working with Wendy, and we hear from her 20 years later We also hear from Alice, Wendy s daughter, again 20 years later Sounds confusing and, at first, it is but you get used to it.This book may befor the thriller crowd It s a slow moving, almost lyrical, mystery Parts had me hooked, but I also felt bored And confused I think I understand the overall message that women s bodies are often not their own, that their lives are not their own But yikes, what a downer If you re in the right mood, the book is okay Just be prepared for something very dark and depressing What if a talented literary writer wrote a Soap aka Soap Opera with many of the attending tropes and themes Well, I think that is what Robin Wasserman has done successfully with her new novel, Mother Daughter Widow Wife We have the Soap staples an amnesiac, adultery, sex, obsession, complicated relationships, mystery, danger, and maybe not an evil twin but close Don t let any of that put you off This is a well written psychological mystery well worth your time After a laboratory fail What if a talented literary writer wrote a Soap aka Soap Opera with many of the attending tropes and themes Well, I think that is what Robin Wasserman has done successfully with her new novel, Mother Daughter Widow Wife We have the Soap staples an amnesiac, adultery, sex, obsession, complicated relationships, mystery, danger, and maybe not an evil twin but close Don t let any of that put you off This is a well written psychological mystery well worth your time After a laboratory failure that ruins years of her research on memory, Lizzie Epstein relocates from her life and relationship in California to her hometown of Philadelphia, to join a brilliant scientist Dr Benjamin Strauss who asks her to head up an investigation of Wendy Doe , a woman who was found on a bus with total amnesia Alice, is Wendy s daughter who is looking for answers to her mother s sudden disappearance HOWEVER, just when you think this is going to be a fairly straight forward narrative, Wasserman projects the reader 20 years into the future I thought Ah This just got interesting We go back and forth through time to learn about the identities of Wendy and Alice and the nature of Dr Strauss research and relationships I don t want to spoil anything because dramatic things happen that I did not foresee like in a good Soap Told through various female points of view mother, daughter, widow, wife , over past and present time lines, Wasserman deftly weaves in themes of identity and memory that will resonate with many readers Wasserman clearly did her research into Memory Science, and the history of treatment of female hysterics , all of which she presents in a fascinating and thought provoking way If we are who our memories make us, would we become fundamentally different people if we could curate our past If we could pick and choose what we remember Would we be happier if we could edit out our bad memories What IS identity What does it mean when we say things like that was unlike you or that was uncharacteristic or out of the blue How well do we really know ourselves, much less know anyone else in our life Do people change women in this novel change when they become mothers or is whatever we present to the world a performance All interesting questions, and perfect for literary book clubs to discuss Hat tip to Wasserman we don t learn Dr Strauss wife s name until 3 4th of the way through the book and it s Madeline Good one From page one, this book grabbed me by the lapels and made me sit up straight The novel is an exploration of memory As I get older, I see how differently people remember things, and found the perfect explanation in this book We all forget things that happened and remembered things that did not I read with a pen and underlined many gorgeous passages I especially loved how two friends have such a different take on their relationship A thought provoking read.
- 288 pages
- Mother Daughter Widow Wife
- Robin Wasserman
- 13 November 2018 Robin Wasserman