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The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Her 70-year-old, cancer-stricken mother kills snakes with a broom. Her best friend believes in psychics and the Virgin Mary. Her new neighbor steals her CDs and her aunt sneaks cheese curls into the house. After seven years in New York, Lori Jakiela gives up her job as an international flight attendant and her dreams of becoming a writer, and returns home to Pittsburgh to ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by C&R Press (first published April 29th 2013)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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Melanie Page
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious is Jakiela’s second memoir, this time about her return to her childhood home–one that had “paintings [that] were a matching set–two big-eyed moppets dressed as harlequins” and “a crucifix the size of a ham”–to care for her mother, who has a weak heart and other health problems. Jakiela is in her 30s, but she is a single woman who loves the impermanence of her previous life as a flight attendant. She has been married before–for 8 weeks–to a man whom her ...more
Christopher Carrolli
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Miss New York has everything, until suddenly, she’s forced to take an abrupt leave from her job as a world-traveling, free roaming, flight attendant and return home to the gray skies of Pittsburgh. It is a few years after her father’s death. This time, it’s her mother; she’s ill and possibly dying. Her mother’s heart has suffered damage, and the dormant presence of breast cancer taunts from the background. At a slightly older age, and facing the imminent loss of her remaining parent, things have ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love the first half of this memoir, but toward the end I felt like there were sections that fell flat for me. However her honesty and anecdotes made me struggle between a 4 and 5, finally settling on a 5 because I would most certainly recommend it! There are amazing gems hidden in this memoir and at times Jakiela's ability to capture characters blew me away. She develops an honest and interesting account of her relationship with her mother, one I believe many can relate to. I recommend this re ...more
Regina Brennan
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lori Jakiela's poetic, uncluttered prose unfolds with one honest revelation after another. Even when the story is painful, it’s told with humor and simple grace. This book is a lovely commemoration of the relationship between two tough-minded, yet kind-hearted women: a mother and a daughter. ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is the best memoir I have read in years. The prose is crisp and clean--not an unnecessary word. The characters are compelling and well developed. Jakiela's portrayal of her mother is particularly thoughtful and striking. ...more
Tammy H.
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I saw her piece in Modern Love (NYT) a long time ago and loved it. I was so happy to hear her on NPR and find this book. This is great writing about important things, life things, parents and love and marriage. I can't recommend this enough. ...more
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved the clear writing in this one, and the short chapters. The mother is one of the best characters I've read in ages. ...more
Sharon Lippincott
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Deft Writing Turns Dull Story Into Diamonds

One of the most common reasons people give for not writing their lifestory or memoir is “My life is so ordinary, nobody would be interested in reading about it.” If all they heard were the bones of the story, most people would say that about Lori Jakiela’s life, but for hours I kept flipping pages of her memoir, The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious, to finish the story.

Let me back up and lay out those bones. Although working as an overseas flight
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There's really no other way to say it: if you've had a Mom; if you've ever been lost, or filled with self-doubt; if you've ever been torn up by love or no love; if you've ever done things and not known why; if you've struggled, and dreamed, and tried, and fought, and hoped; if you've ever had a child, or ever been powerless in the face of a loved one's sickness -- in short, if you have ever been human -- your life will be made richer for this deeply wonderful book. Jakiela is a consummate crafts ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is astounding. It's unexpected and brutally honest and fantastically clever. The way the struggle with memoirs is to take something as jagged as life and put it in the linear, page-by-page format of a book, this book is left to be the jagged thing that it should be. The effect is that the book is intensely relatable, heartbreaking, and utterly gorgeous. ...more
Janine Brouillette
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Great book, great writer, she reminds me of Janet Evanovich with her humor. A story that many of us face when we have to move home and take care of our parents. A story of mothers and daughters and how we struggle with each other while trying to find ourselves. Humor, tears, joy, and love.
Joe Nelis
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent memoir of familial trauma, loss, and returning to familiar places. The ending felt rushed, but that could simply be true to her experience of that flurry of events and changes. The writing style very straightforward, which I think took away from certain moments but allowed others the unadulterated sting that they needed. My paperback was also rife with printing errors, which definitely made the reading experience needlessly jarring at times.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Memoir by a daughter of her adoption and lif with her mom. If you enjoyed Wild by Cheryl Strayed, you should like this too!
Rich Engel
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
this memoir set in Pittsburgh was an easy read, with a clipped and humorous style
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fond of memoirs.
Saw Lori Jakiela on a TV show about Pittsburgh authors.
I gobbled up this book in one day.
She's my new favorite Pittsburgh author.
Jen Ashburn
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A heart-wrenching and heart-ful memoir about making a place in a world that's trying to beat you up. "I'm happy even though I'm terrified," Jakiela writes, "even though happiness, like in books is neither logical nor likely." I loved the writing, and I loved the story. A few more of my favorite lines:

"His voice is perky as alka-seltzer."

"Only couples who are serious shop at IKEA... Only couples who are in love can put the furniture together without killing each other."

"It's a hard thing to know
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a memoir writing by the author about her life of taking care of a difficult mother who was ill as well as living her own life. The book was a decent read, chapters were short, to the point. Not drawn out and embellished. Some were just a paragraph long, others were longer. Like a person would actually write when keeping a journal. Not everyone has the time to write more then a a couple pages when writing a journal. I liked this because it was real, and could be anyone's life that was in ...more
Closer to 3.5 stars, though not a 4 star book for me. Memoirs are generally not my favorite genre; I often find them too self-serving and am generally disappointed if the subject is someone I admire. Further, I don't really understand what leads a writer to write a memoir, why not just make it fiction, based on real events? And how do one's family and friends and even just people one knows react to this type of soul-bearing and intimate telling?

However, I had read several glowing reviews (incl
Bill O'driscoll
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Jakiela knowingly -- and very amusingly, if in all seriousness -- relates this memoir as both mid-life-crisis and coming-of-age story: A decade ago, she was a fully fledged adult who found herself living in her childhood bedroom when she returns from life as a Manhattan-based airline hostess to take care of her seriously ill mother in Pittsburgh. But don't get the wrong idea about Mom as victim: She's an irascible handful and then some and, as Jakiela unsparingly relates, her manipulations and i ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: blogged
I picked up this book because it was mentioned on a WQED show about the best things to do in Pittsburgh. Written by a local writer, the geography of it made it a fun read. The memoir itself was a bit self-indulgent at times, but I feel that way about most memoirs. the last 1/3 of the book was considerably better than the first parts, and by the end, as the author came into her own, I did actually begin to care about her and not feel like she was just prattling about her life. I suppose i should ...more
Dorothy Presnell
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
So often we take advantage of the time we spend with loved ones. In this book the author leaves her job as an airline attendant to go back to her home town to care for her ailing mother. It is not easy since her mother does not feel she needs to be cared for. her mother did not seem to appreciate the sacrifice her daughter made.
There were times it made me think of my mom and I am sure anyone who reads this will see their mom or daughter. It is bitter sweet when mother and daughter bond after th
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Well written and engaging from the first page. I was as surprised by how this memoir turned as I would be if it had been a novel. Just shows that real life is amazing and you can't make this stuff up. Her mother reminds me of mine, whew how do we live through some of this stuff. Loved the descriptions of her college Dean. Does she still work there? Yikes. And the secretary! I work at a university also, so love descriptions and stories about academia. Although that's not what thi ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is the authors second memoir. It begins as she leaves New York City and her exciting flight attendant career to move to blue collar Pittsburgh neighborhood to care for her cancer stricken widowed mother. Of course, the women nearly drive each other crazy....but however difficult the challenges for both women their story is one that everyone with a family can relate: tears and chuckles, cranky relatives and new friends, family homes and stinky apartments, endings and beginnings, Jakiela make ...more
Gigi Brasfield
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. It was well written and quite interesting to read. I like that Lori can tell a serious story and at the same time she injects some really funny anecdotes. I wish I could recall my childhood in such exact detail. Thank you Lori for preserving your memories and enabling me to recall a lot of the memories that we share together. Keep up the writing and I'll keep on reading! ...more
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, read-in-2015
Wow, I feel like Lori Jakiela lived and wrote my life in this book. When my friend, the bookseller, picked out and recommended this book to me, she just didn't know how spot-on it was, and exactly what I needed to encourage me to try and carve out more of a life for myself. Thank you Lori Jakiela!

Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
It was a real story about how we grow into our relationships and how we see people fit into our lives. Everyone has a place in your life, sometimes we have to figure out where they belong.
Karen Breda
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a light, quick read. It reminded me of Janet Evonovich in tempo and content., but it was a complete story. I really enjoyed it for a light change.
Christina Ailor
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wry observations on a transitional time in Jakiela's life. I loved this book. It's a quick read, pick it up now. ...more
Sarah Susa
rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2021
rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2013
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