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The Hazards of Sleeping Alone
by Elisa Juska

Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0743493508

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Hazards of Sleeping Alone
Elisa Juska
Downtown, Sep 2004, $13.00, 368 pp.
ISBN: 0743493508

In her late forties, Charlotte Warren has become increasingly neurotic about life as she is a compulsive worrier. Unable to sleep at night and a bundle of nerves during the day, Charlotte has been divorced for fifteen years from Joe, who she sometimes misses in the lonely darkness. However, her biggest concern besides some imaginary thief breaking and entering her home is her passionate living twenty-two years old daughter who lives life with gusto.

Emily arrives home on a visit, but this time has brought with her Walter, the black man she plans to move in with. Charlotte is stunned but has a new reason to panic as she fears her daughter’s “alternate living arrangement” selection as mixed relationships are difficult. However, the appearance of Walter and Emily does more than just turn Charlotte into a nervous wreck; that first weekend shatters the older woman’s memories as events she buried in the furthest reaches of her mind has arisen like an avenging Phoenix.

This is an intriguing look at an individual struggling with a compulsive disorder that keeps her from fully functioning in society. Readers’ hearts will go out to Charlotte whose palpitations and fears can be felt on almost every page of the tale. Of interest is how opposite her daughter who lived much of her life with her mother (Joe had visits and ultimately moved far away to Seattle) has turned out; sort of as if she has had a reaction formation to the phobic driven lifestyle of her mother. Though somewhat dark in tone, Elisa Juska paints a portrait of a woman in trouble from demons running amok in her head.

Harriet Klausner


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