The Bridge Ladies

The Bridge Ladies

A Memoir

Book - 2016
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A Bridge club provides an unexpected connection across a generational divide between mother and daughter. Betsy Lerner tells a funny, intimate, and deeply affecting story that's a little about Bridge and a lot about life.

After a lifetime of defining herself against her mother's Don't Ask, Don't Tell generation, Lerner found herself back home in the suburban town that represented everything she wanted to flee: namely the traditional life her mother stood for. Yet, when Roz needed help after surgery, Betsy stepped in. She expected a week of tense civility; what she got were the Bridge Ladies. Impressed by their faithful visits, she saw something her own generation lacked: Facebook was great, but it wouldn't deliver a pot roast.

Tentatively at first, Betsy became a regular at her mother's Monday Bridge club, falling under the spell of the intimidating game. Unexpectedly, the Bridge Ladies became a catalyst for change as Betsy and Roz reconciled years of painful misunderstandings and harrowing silences. The Bridge table became the common ground they never had.

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.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper Wave,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2016
ISBN: 9780062565228
Characteristics: viii, 299 pages


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JCLStefanieE Jul 13, 2017

I was reminded of The Joy Luck Club while reading this true story about a woman who joins her octogenarian mother's bridge club. It was a pleasant read overall and a nice study on the relationship between mothers and daughters.

coroboreefarm Jul 11, 2016

I have always been fascinated by four individual sterling silver ashtrays, tiny and perfect, that belonged to my friend's mother and were used exclusively when the bridge club met at her home. They always conjure up images of perfectly made up and coiffed ladies wearing delightful hats and matching gloves. Ladies of this generation, like the ladies of the bridge club in Betsy Lerner's memoir, formed fast friendships within women's clubs and activities. It was these friendships that helped them navigate life through the stoic sixties and the tumultuous seventies right into old age where their support and encouragement for each other lends itself to dealing with issues of ill health and loss.

The author of this memoir, Betsy Lerner, learns to play bridge and interacts with the ladies of the bridge club when she comes back to her childhood home to help her mother convalesce. Betsy has always had a troubled relationship with her mother, and although her issues are not completely resolved in the book, she gains a greater appreciation for the women of this generation, and of the challenges and obstacles that shaped their attitudes towards life.
I particularly liked the parts of the book where Betsy met with the ladies individually, in various venues and listened to them tell the stories of their early lives. These conversations gave depth and insight into the world they inhabited, the same world that imbued Betsy's mother with the characteristics that she found so problematic as a younger woman. I was only disappointed that the healing between mother and daughter was not more richly realized.

CatherineG_1 May 29, 2016

Betsy Lerner's Bridge Ladies brings us into the lives of 5 ladies who meet and play bridge every Monday afternoon, for over 50 years. Along with playing cards, these women are inseparable and lifelines for each other. Betsy learns a love for the game as well as great respect for each person in the group. Through individual interviews, she finds out their aspirations, dreams and how they came to live the lives they did.
This book reminded me of my mother's relationship with her friends, in the same time period. Made me want to think about taking up bridge again.

May 16, 2016

I was fascinated by the premise of this book as my parents also played bridge. My mother played in the afternoon with other women and in the evening with my father as a couple. The author's mother is only a few years younger then mine so the time period also aligned with my experiences. Lerner is very honest about her not-so-wonderful relationship with her mother through her growing up years and afterwards. When she moved back to her hometown and found herself in a caretaker role after her mother's surgery, she came in contact with the "bridge ladies". During the next three years, Lerner learned to play bridge and became entrenched with the bridge ladies. This common bond led to a better, but not perfect, relationship for one mother and daughter. This book covers a lot of social history and emotional turmoil between the greatest generation parents and their baby boomer children as illustrated by 5 families. A great companion book for this memoir would be Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders by Mary Pipher.

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