A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.Read more...
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A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.
After a lifetime defining herself in contrast to her mother's "don't ask, don't tell" generation, Lerner finds herself back in her childhood home, not five miles from the mother she spent decades avoiding. When Roz needs help after surgery, it falls to Betsy to take care of her. She expected a week of tense civility; what she got instead were the Bridge Ladies. Impressed by their loyalty, she saw something her generation lacked. Facebook was great, but it wouldn't deliver a pot roast.
Tentatively at first, Betsy becomes a regular at her mother's Monday Bridge club. Through her friendships with the ladies, she is finally able to face years of misunderstandings and family tragedy, the Bridge table becoming the common ground she and Roz never had.
By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won--but never-too-late--bond between mother and daughter.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-29
- Reviewer: Staff
This absorbing memoir by literary agent and author Lerner (The Forest for the Trees) is about the game of bridge, but it’s also about bridging gaps—both the generational gap and the “personal gulf” that had defined Lerner’s relationship with her mother. At age 54, due to her husband’s job relocation, Lerner finds herself back in her hometown of New Haven, Conn., where her 83-year-old widowed mother still resides. Hoping to repair at least some of the rifts between them, she somewhat reluctantly re-enters her mother’s life and begins attending her Monday afternoon bridge game, first as an observer and later—after taking lessons at the Manhattan Bridge Club—as an occasional participant. Along with descriptions of her bridge lessons, Lerner shares the histories of the elegantly dressed New Haven ladies who have met weekly for 55 years, women who came of age in the 1940s and ’50s. As Lerner probes marriage, career, motherhood, postpartum depression, aging, death, assisted living, dementia, widowhood, religion, and sex, she discovers that although her mother and her bridge companions differ in some ways from her own generation (for example, they felt that marriage to a Jewish man trumped pursuing a career), they share common values of love and kinship. She also draws closer to her mother, gaining a deeper understanding of her interior life, including the rarely discussed childhood death of Lerner’s sister. This beautifully written, bittersweet story of ladies of a certain age and era will have wide appeal. (May)