`Trouble,' the fifth novel by PEN/Faulkner Award winner Kate Christensen is the story of middle-age-meltdown, the comforts and limits of friendship, and the conflict between connections and freedom. The protagonist, Josie, is a middle-aged Manhattan psychologist with a seemingly enviable life - a satisfying career, successful spouse, and beautiful/smart daughter. Then one night she finds herself flirting with a stranger and decides that her life is empty. She leaves her husband and daughter and sets about `fulfilling her own needs,' `finding herself,' and/or `getting in touch with her inner self.' The irony that she's a psychologist and has so little self-knowledge is, of course, central to the novel. As a coming-of-age story, Christensen's novel is all too predictable. Josie goes to Mexico, where she drinks too much, eats exotic foods, mingles with the natives, and has mind blowing sex. She also reconnects with a close friend who's going through a crisis. The two women attempt to comfort each other, but their inability to understand themselves is mirrored in their failure to connect. `Trouble' is an interesting and thought provoking, if dark, novel, but I did not find it enjoyable reading. I found the characters' angst to be a bit self-indulgent and their actions self-serving. Nevertheless, it's an interesting mix.