Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom from an Unconventional Woman

Posted by nliakos on October 2, 2018

by Joan Anderson (Broadway Books 2004)

Joan Anderson was at a pivotal point in her life, trying out life on her own away from her husband on Cape Cod, when she met Joan Erikson, wife of the psychologist Erik Erikson. Erik was in a nursing care facility in the town, and the two Joans–one in her early fifties, the other in her nineties but full of vitality and wisdom–became close friends. Together, they weathered Erik’s death, the return of Anderson’s husband and her growth into a stronger person. The memoir, purported to be about Erikson’s life lessons, is as much about Anderson’s efforts to make herself over in Erikson’s image, or at least with her mentoring. I was sometimes impatient with Anderson’s slow grasp of her mentor’s lessons, and at other times irritated by Erikson’s preachiness and tendency to criticize her friend. I often wondered what Robin, Anderson’s husband, was making of all this; even after he came back into her life, she seemed to ignore him.

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