Robin Wasserman Examines Women and Lost Identity in Mother Daughter Widow Wife

My Review:

Mother Daughter Widow Wife by Robin Wasserman is about women, identity and power. This is the story of Wendy Doe, a woman who is found on a bus in Pennsylvania with no ID or any idea of who she is or where she came from. She is thought to have a temporary amnesia and is sent to a medical research facility to be observed. She is studied by Dr. Benjamin Strauss, and his assistant, Lizzie. Dr. Strauss calls the shots with both his young assistant and his new patient. Lizzie looks up to him and believes investing in their relationship could further her career. Strauss also spends time alone with Wendy, developing a relationship and learning more about her condition. For Lizzie, Wendy feels like a friend and someone she admires who can start her life over, but Wendy has no attachments to either Dr. Strauss or Wendy as she navigates her world with no memory.

Years later, Alice is looking for her mother who has gone missing and she tracks down Elizabeth Strauss (Dr. Benjamin Strauss’s widow and former assistant then known as Lizzie) who reveals her experience with Alice’s mother, previously known as Wendy Doe. Wendy’s history of temporary amnesia and being in a dissociative fugue state gives Alice the hope that this might be the reason for her mom’s disappearance, yet Lizzie is not convinced. Lizzie, now a widow, and Alice, a daughter in search for her mother have many unanswered questions that have great impact on their lives. In Mother Daughter Widow Wife, Author Robin Wasserman examines power and agency in the workplace and in life, and the ways women can lose themselves and their identities. Not a straight forward read but if you have interest in memory and dissociative fugue states, you will enjoy.

Goodreads Summary

About the Author:

Robin Wasserman is the author of the novels MOTHER DAUGHTER WIDOW WIFE (June 2020) and GIRLS ON FIRE. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and several short story anthologies. A recent MacDowell Colony fellow, she is also the New York Times bestselling author of more than ten novels for young adults and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University.

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