Many daughters have complicated relationships with their mothers. They don’t understand one another and their choices. However, as the decades pass, the daughters come to realize that the window of opportunity for reconciliation and understanding is rapidly narrowing. As a child, Betsy Lerner was awed by the elegant women who played bridge with her mother each week. Decades later, Lerner decided that the best way to reconnect with her mother was to join the weekly bridge games, which she recounts in her memoir The Bridge Ladies.
Bridge is a metaphor. It’s a symbol for another era, when it was fashionable. Like life, it takes skill, concentration, and patience. If you make a mistake, your partner has to compensate for the error to save the hand. It takes a long time to learn, just as it takes a long time to really understand another person. Lerner’s bridge lessons, presented with a wry sense of humor, reveal her own insecurities. These comic interludes balance the examinations of the beauty, strength, triumph, and tragedy of the bridge ladies’ lives. Through these inspirational women, Lerner learns not only about her mother but also a generation of women.
“I thought I would never say this, but I think the Bridge Ladies are brave.”
This beautifully wrought memoir imparts life and relationship lessons for all readers. Babyboomers will likely relate to their own relationships across the generational divide while millennial readers are given an intimate glimpse into the relationship between their mothers and grandmothers.
Sarah Hutchins is an English Instructor and freelance writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University and a Bachelors of Arts in English from Portland State University. Her sagging bookshelves suffer from a peculiar fate: for each book read and removed, three or four magically appear in its stead. The books that find a permanent home on these same shelves are typically classics, French literature, philosophical novels and essays, and magic realism.
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