Tangled Lives: Daughters, Mothers and the Crucible of Agin

Lillian B. Rubin, Author Beacon Press (MA) $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8070-6794-9
A noted sociologist, psychotherapist and author of nine books (The Transcendent Child, etc.), Rubin now recounts, with mingled sadness and joy, her experiences as a daughter, mother, wife and professional woman. Occasioned in part by the death of her 94-year-old mother and Rubin's own sudden illness in her 70s, this elegiac memoir seeks to come to terms with the process of aging by examining pivotal moments from the author's own life. The daughter of Russian emigrant Jews, Rubin lost her father when she was five years old. Her mother, an uneducated woman, found work in a garment factory. Rubin looks back with tenderness at her years as a lonely child, unable to please her mother and suffering fears of abandonment in the face of her mother's anger. Rubin graduated from high school at 15, and was expected to get a job and help contribute to her brother's college education. She dutifully complied, enjoying her work as a secretary, until she married at 19. Her relationship with her mother never improved; even on her deathbed, Rubin's mother mumbled to herself, ""Why did you take my son and leave her? It's him I need, not her."" Having long ago resolved to be unlike her mother in every way, Rubin recounts with satisfaction the loving relationship she has had with her own daughter. As she prepares to celebrate her 75th birthday, Rubin admires her husband's graceful acceptance of his 80th birthday and finds resolution in the shadow of her own mortality. With its intimate, conversational style, this insightful personal testament reveals how one woman has dealt with the changes of middle and old age. It's not exactly Wednesdays with Lillian, but there are enough similarities to tempt creative booksellers. Agent, Rhoda Weyr. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-8070-6795-6
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