For the past fifty years, Monday afternoons in New Haven have always been the same: Roz, Rhoda, Bea, Jackie and Bette - the Bridge Ladies. A card table with four folding chairs (and one dummy seat). A plate of homemade cookies or brownies on the kitchen counter somewhere, largely untouched. And once they begin the game, hours of silence, punctuated only by the sound of cards being plucked up or snapped down.
As a child, Betsy Lerner thought the Bridge Ladies were fascinatingly chic, with their frosted hair-dos and shiny nylons. To the teenage Betsy, they seemed hopelessly square. As an adult, working in New York City, they were a relic of her past. But when her husband accepted a job in New Haven, she found herself right back where she started.
Suddenly, the Bridge Ladies came hurtling back, their Monday lunch and Bridge Club still ongoing. They had accepted their lot in life and were, mostly, grateful. They didn't talk about their problems, much less those involving sex, relationships, or their children. On paper, they were unremarkable, even dull. But once Betsy started really looking at them, she realized that they were anything but.
Wildly perceptive and, in turns, hilarious and fearlessly vulnerable, Lerner's memoir is required reading for anyone who has ever had a mother. And it teaches us an important lesson: Facebook may connect us across the world, but social media can't deliver a pot roast and it won't dry your tears.