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The Hazards of Sleeping Alone Paperback – September 14, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Anyone who has awakened in the night alone and afraid will rejoice at Charlotte's transformation from a fearful middle-aged recluse who compulsively checks locks and window latches to a fun-loving, confident woman. A divorced mother, Charlotte has spent most of her adulthood immersed in daughter Emily's life, anxiously averting all potential disasters. Headstrong Emily, now grown up and on her own, visits Charlotte's new condo, bringing her boyfriend and a whole carload of new and scary problems. Forced into a solitary life, Charlotte takes her first uncomfortable steps into the world of Thai food, dating, and traveling alone, while her daughter gets her first taste of adult heartache. Awakened to her own personality flaws and challenged by events and people outside her control, Charlotte finds a new purpose in life. With a light, conspiratorial tone, Juska, the author of Getting Over Jack Wagner (2003), paints an accurate picture of life's pitfalls and heartaches, and she celebrates the coping skills developed by women of character. Jennifer Baker
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Charlotte is an utterly original character: fearful and hopeful, honest and funny, naive and wise. This is a wonderful novel." -- Lisa Tucker, author of The Song Reader and Shout Down the Moon

"Elise Juska's fiction is my favorite kind: fun, funny, real, and full of feeling." -- Shawn McBride, author of Green Grass Grace

"Juska digs to uncover truths about loneliness, human connection and mother-daughter relationships. She excavates, reveals, and gets it exactly right." -- Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel

"Juska's portrait of [Charlotte] is an exacting one and hews, however uncomfortably, close to the truth...a powerful success." -- Kirkus, August 15, 2004
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Downtown Press; 1st Downtown Press Trade Pbk. Ed edition (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743493508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743493505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,649,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

My wife and I highly recommend the book (and her first book too).
Clark Knowles
Beautifully observed and elegantly written, 'Hazards' works as both a penetrating character study and a well-spun story.
Bruce Fretts
As the novel evolves, we begin to care more and more about the secondary characters, as well.
Krisilou

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Krisilou VINE VOICE on March 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Elise Juska's novels are just never what I quite expect them to be. Looking for a light read, I picked up The Hazards of Sleeping Alone. Little did I know that my reading lamp would burn late into the night with this heartwarming and surprisingly complex novel.

Charlotte is a divorcee who has left her family home for the "simpler" condo life. Her "master of many causes" daughter lives with her boyfriend in New Hampshire, so she is left alone with her memories and her fears. Throughout the story, we see her complicated relationship with Emily (her daughter) progress and we see Charlotte begin to learn more about herself and her many neuroses.

This novel is actually a rather in-depth character study of Charlotte. We learn enough about her past and present to truly understand her and care about what happens to her. As the novel evolves, we begin to care more and more about the secondary characters, as well.

I loved this book. It was touching, biting at times, but ultimately, it was true. I highly recommend this one!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Philly Reader on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book to read because I loved Juska's first book, Getting Over Jack Wagner, and a friend said this one was just as strong. This book, although entirely different in tone, proves Juska's talent at creating fully-realized and richly complicated characters. While the strength of Getting Over... was the exacting humor and dead-on hip factor, Hazards' power comes from the honest portrait of her lead character and the diverse "family" that surounds her. The reader feels like a voyeur in the mind of a woman struggling with the hard things we all struggle with - insecurity, anxiety, longing, and most importantly, love. It is well-written, full of truths, imaginative and it handles tough issues with honesty and care, without judgement, without comment. I highly recommend this read, even for those who may not be a mother or a daughter.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Clark Knowles on November 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't know if I'm supposed to admit knowing the author here when I post a review...but it seems disingenuous not to.... So here goes. I've known Elise for a number of years and she's always surprising me with her writing. She has a number of powerful (dark yet elegant) short stories published in smaller literary journals-all of which probe the frailty of human connectedness. Her first novel, Getting Over Jack Wagner surprised me with its gentle, perceptive humor, and its ability to be entertaining, but never trivial. And her new novel, The Hazards of Sleeping Alone, surprises me with its delicacy, with its compassion for all its characters, and for the natural pace and rhythm of her prose. It has a frilly, purplish cover, but the book is serious without being stuffy, weighty without being leaden. The language is sharp, the characters definitive (and, at times, defiant). What I love most about her people is that Elise is able to get past the surface of her characters in ways a lot of authors are never able to do. Hazards' protagonist, Charlotte, for all her quirks and fears, is a character to be reckoned with-and a character to remember. Elise never cheats as a writer-she won't give way to sentimentalism, won't bend the story toward a happy ending if it isn't deserved, won't guide the story with an obvious authorial hand. I was privileged enough to be an early reader of this book about a year ago-and it is still fresh in my memory. I suppose if you think I'm just subjective because of our friendship, you might buy the book and put my comments to the test.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ChickLitGirl on October 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book tells the heartwarming, intriguing story of Charlotte, a divorced woman who has lived alone in New Jersey every since her free-spirited and passionate daughter went off to college. With her ex husband living in Seattle, Charlotte is just fine going about her life on her own. Although Charlotte misses her daughter Emily and is always wondering what she is doing, things are okay in her life. After all, she has her routines to occupy her time.

However Emily, who now lives in New Hampshire with her boyfriend and two eccentric roommates, pays her a visit one day and both of their lives are never quite the same again. Some rather shocking news gets revealed during her visit, and both Emily and Charlotte are faced with some difficult decisions and times. What with Emily's caring boyfriend Walter, Charlotte's ex-husband Joe, the uncertain feelings between them all, and Charlotte's paranoia, things hover quickly on the edge of disaster. Will they be able to work it all out? Find out in this wonderful and moving story.

I immensely enjoyed this novel for several reasons. The main thing about it was how well the author let the reader into the head of the main character. Charlotte comes across as a real, four-dimensional mother figure that you will instantly care about and root for. She has real flaws and issues, but is just so likeable somehow. This story is also very well-written with a splash of imagery thrown in. From the small condo that Charlotte occupies in New Jersey, to the woodsy house that Emily and Walter live in New Hampshire, the reader will be immersed in details so rich and real, they will be there themselves.

There were some delicate subjects tackled in this book, such as abortion issues, mother-daughter angst, love, and loneliness.
Read more ›
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