Tangled Lives


Dr. Lillian Rubin’s tenth book examines the lives of women as they grown from daughters into mothers and move on into the intimidating territory of old age. Tangled Lives, which reads with the narrative intensity of good fiction, uses pivotal events from the author’s own life to illuminate the powerful influence the mother-daughter bond has on a woman’s identity, and the profound changes that come with aging.

Masterfully interweaving her present-day challenges with the story of her immigrant Jewish family’s struggle, the author presents a vivid tapestry of a contemporary woman’s life. Her mother’s death and her own life-threatening illness two weeks later give her occasion to reflect on her life’s path: her father’s sudden death when she was five, her mother’s grueling labor in the New York garment industry before unions made the work barely tolerable, her own climb from poverty, and her lifelong battle with her mother. As she lies in a hospital bed recovering from a near-fatal blood clot, she recounts triumphantly how, in defiance of her own troubled history with her mother, she forged a deep and meaningful relationship with her daughter.

Dr. Rubin’s reflections on growing old provide an intensely intimate and passionate look at
aging in this society. Her unflinching personal honestly opens the door on feelings that are too
often kept silent, fostering anxiety, guilt, and shame. Tangled Lives will inspire others to bring
their own hidden thoughts to light and to see the common humanity in their personal struggle.

Read a Chapter

A Daughter’s Response to her Mother’s Book