February 13, 2017
The Bridge Ladies
The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
Read by Orlagh Cassidy
Finished on October 4, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
A fifty-year-old Bridge club provides an unexpected connection across a generational divide between mother and daughter. Betsy Lerner tells a funny, intimate, and deeply affecting story where we learn 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, an enthusiastic member of the Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll generation, found herself back home in her suburban Connecticut town. It represented everything she had 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 and home-cooked meals, 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 fixture at her mother's Monday Bridge club. Before long, she braved the intimidating world of Bridge--a game, she writes, "that well acquaints you with your deficits"--and fell under its spell. Unexpectedly, the Bridge Ladies became a Greek chorus, a catalyst for change between Betsy and Roz as they 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 weaves the histories of the ladies with those of Betsy and her mother across a lifetime of missed opportunities. The result is an unforgettable story of a hard-won--but never-too-late--bond between mother and daughter.
I almost gave up on this audio, growing more and more tired of the author's complaints about her relationship with her mother. But about halfway into the book, I started to care about the Bridge Ladies and their relationships with each other and their families. While at times a bit depressing, or maybe it's just that I couldn't relate to Betsy and her mother, it wound up being rather touching and thought-provoking as the conclusion drew near. Bridge, though? No thank you! Mahjong is much easier!!