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The Narcissist's Daughter: A Meshugenah Love Story

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Jody Horowitz grew up in an upscale community outside Boston with her narcissistic mother, her passive father, and her snooty older sister. Breaking any of Mother’s multiple rules meant enduring verbal lashings and comparisons to her “perfect” sister. Jody acquiesces in practice, if not in spirit, starting with Rule # 1: Marry a Well-Off Jewish Man. Have his baby. Which she does.

But Jody, now 31, with a one-year-old daughter, learns that her “well-off-enough Jewish man” has been screwing a shiksa, and Mother suggests that in order to fix her marriage, Jody “wear more lingerie.” Instead, Jody kicks the cheater out, recovers her life with her work, her daughter and their dog....and, despite Rule #1, falls for a kind Italian Catholic widower. Their love affair leads her to expedite her divorce, despite the risk of losing not only the only family she has ever known, but future shares of the family's fortune. Is this worth it, to be with a partner who has a big heart—but a thin wallet?

Her new man seems well worth it, and Jody seems truly happy for the first time in a long time…despite the secret she must keep from him, and the secret she finds out about him. As she grapples with her heart, Mother re-surfaces with more mishegas, instituting Rule # 2—Keep Secrets When Necessary. She declares the divorce and goyim guy to be hush-hush and insists that Jody bring her estranged husband to the annual family reunion in upscale Westchester County, NY. That request pushes Jody over the edge. With her loving Bubbe's support, she resolves to finally emerge from her mother’s narcissism—and shatter all rules so she can be true to herself, her daughter, and her new man.

This decision unravels her soul and leads to a dramatic personal breakdown that stretches from Boston to California to Maine, which even her best friend Ruthie can't fix for Jody this time. By the start of the highly-charged family reunion, Jody must summon the courage to proclaim her allegiance to her man, not be a pawn to her family, and be a positive role-model for her daughter. To everyone’s surprise, a third choice, amid a tumultuous night of secret-revealing, comes to light.

Will Jody remain mired in Mother's manipulation or freed from a lifetime of controlling, narcissistic influences? And how will her young daughter fare from the family mishegas that threatens to consume them? Can love and intimacy guide Jody’s exodus, or is the grip of the past too powerful to overcome?

With suspense, humor, romance, a compelling plot, and a Yiddish glossary, this novel grips the reader from start to finish--whether or not they understand the enormous challenges that the daughter of a narcissistic mother must overcome in order to become her own person. Those who do understand, or have lived with a self-absorbed or narcissistic mother, will see themselves in Jody--and cheer her on all the way to her final decision.

279 pages, Paperback

Published April 1, 2019

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Mindy Pollack-Fusi

3 books3 followers

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Jean Duffy.
Author 1 book3 followers
July 6, 2019
The Narcissist's Daughter is a delightful read with dollops of humor, spice, and passion. From the first page I cheered for Jody as she confronted her unfaithful husband and faced her overbearing mother. I shared her struggles with self-confidence in accepting her too-good-to-be-true new romantic interest. The glossary of Yiddish terms was helpful for this "goy."

Profile Image for Judy Stone.
Author 3 books5 followers
September 2, 2019
Normally, I readily fall asleep riding in a car, as though I were a baby. That wasn’t the case with The Narcisssist’s Daughter, which I took to read on a recent vacation. In fact, I stayed awake and devoured the book both on the 1.5 hr drive and then on my flight. I found the book hilarious and familiar in its rather stereotypical Jewish characters. Jody’s relationship with her mother is painful, and it is gratifying to see her grow and challenge the suffocation of such long-held patterns.
We get to watch the budding romance between Jody and Sam and how they navigate other family relationships. Everyone should hope to have a good friend like Ruthie. And young Hallie’s relationship with her Bubbe was perhaps the truest and most charming.

Just coming across this book at a Maine Book Festival, with a title with the word "Meshugenah" made me smile--non-WASP/Catholic ethnicity seems to be a rarity here, so the title alone was an unexpected treat.

Given all the awful news of late, I needed the happy ending and the hearty laughs Mindy’s novel provided. This was a perfect, fun vacation read, with characters who I could relate to.
47 reviews
June 23, 2019
My friend Mindy wrote this book! It’s kind of a chick-lit divorce fantasy with some Yiddish included. Also very nostalgic if you lived in the Boston area in the 80’s. A fun read!
2 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2019
Our bookgroup read The Narcissist’s Daughter in August, and we were lucky to have the author, Mindy Pollack-Fusi, join our lively and thoughtful discussion in early September.

There were lots of emotional struggles and a couple of “challenging” characters and relationships, as the title suggests, but mostly the book describes rich and sweet relationships between mother(Jody), daughter (Hallie), grandmother (Bubbe), boyfriend (Sam), and best friend (Ruthie).

It was inspiring to see Jody grow and stand up to her overbearing mother, as she was finding her voice and becoming strong and independent.

It was a fun, funny, inspiring and enjoyable read, that I highly recommended!
Profile Image for Nancy Reilly.
4 reviews4 followers
June 25, 2019
Title: The Narcissist’s Daughter
Author: Mindy Pollock Fusi
Publisher: The Place for Words Press
Date: April 2, 2019
Pages 279

This page-turning story of a young Jewish woman dominated by her mother describes emotional struggles that are at once painful and humorous. Among the many themes explored in this book are religion, divorce, money, friendship and betrayal, kindness, and honor. The goy who the narcissist’s daughter married and who the mother tries so hard to ostracize, shows that honor and love transcend religious affiliation. The book culminates with a family reunion gone badly awry as inebriated relatives betray deep secrets to harm those they love. It is in this setting that the unwelcome son-in-law intervenes to avert a family disaster.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
18 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2019
The Narcissist Daughter is a good beach read. The author, Mindy Pollack-Fusi, raises interesting questions about the ability of mothers and daughters to understand each other's needs. Like Woody Allen, author Mindy Pollack-Fusi exaggerates Jewish stereotypes at the dinner table and beyond. You will smile or frown depending on where you sit and wonder how can a mom’s good intentions go so awry.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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