Little, Brown, 2003, 23.95, 262 pp.
Greta is the sandwich generation dealing with her ailing mother Lotte and her adult (with her own child) daughter Elizabeth. Things were okay for the California based landscape artist as her spouse is a nice person, her work enjoyable, and she is at some distance from the other generationals. That changes after her father dies and Lotte demands more of her time especially since the Jewish matriarch learns she has a nasty facial skin cancer. Elizabeth, with her preschool aged son and boyfriend, has relocated from NYC to work on a screenplay of Madame Bovary.
Greta loves her extended family, but would prefer less demand as she can only supply so much. However, the biggest issue to confront Greta is her deepest feelings especially after being diagnosed with colon cancer. She wonders about what she has done with her life and why she suddenly finds herself extremely attracted to film director Daisy Piperino since she has been a heterosexual from the moment she discovered boys.
SHE IS ME is an insightful look at three and a fraction (Greta's grandson is only three years old) generations of Americans. Each of the key characters especially the trio of women is fully developed so the audience can easily distinguish what motivates each one. The support cast enables an even deeper look inside the prime threesome though the tale lacks any major relational conflict as everyone tries to be considerate of each other. Still fans of a powerful perspective on the modern family will appreciate Cathleen Schine's novel because most of us will see much of ourselves as one of the she (or a support he).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner