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The Bridge Ladies

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,590 ratings  ·  625 reviews
A fifty-year-old bridge game, and the secrets it held, provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between the author and her mother: Betsy Lerner takes us on an intimate and powerfully personal literary journey 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
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Harper Wave
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Kaitlyn Lindsay I finished it and thought it was pointless. Gained zero insight. It was boring and I didn't learn anything new. Is it really that difficult to conceiv…moreI finished it and thought it was pointless. Gained zero insight. It was boring and I didn't learn anything new. Is it really that difficult to conceive that the older generations did things differently and that maybe they were happy anyway? SHEESH. The 70s were a rough time for their generation?? GASP!!! Really I didn't know that!! *sarcasm* Many women find fulfillment in one partner without sleeping around in the 20s and 30s??? Again I say...GASP!! Like these are all things anyone with a semi open mind can understand. (less)

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Elyse  Walters
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Library by Orlaugh Cassidy

Wanting a lightweight ... but engaging walking-audio-companion while in the ‘thrones-of-thought’ about our current election....
and having just read a deeper historical gut wrenching & mentally compelling autography ....”The World of Yesterday”, by Stefan Zweig....
I picked “The Bridge Ladies”, by Betsy Lerner.
I enjoyed it tremendously. This memoir not only has great humor, wonderful nostalgic descriptions, ( if you’re my age), a little educat
Christine Zibas
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
"How many Jewish grandmothers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? You shouldn't worry....I'll sit in the dark."

This is a book about being a child, a parent, or a grandparent; it's about aging, not always with dignity and light; and it's about a bridge club of five Jewish ladies, who have been playing together for more than 50 years. It's the examination of the old mother-daughter conflict and coming to peace with who we (and our parents) are.

Betsy Lerner tells the story of her mother's bridge
Cindy Burnett
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Betsy Lerner started out writing a tale about the five Jewish women who made up her mother’s decades-long bridge club group. For three years, she observed their bridge club, interviewed each woman and her children, and set about learning to play bridge to further understand these women. When she began her project, Betsy and her mother had a troubled relationship that had carried over from when she was a teen. As she got to know all of the women better, she also began to view her mother
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I know this book is a memoir, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it weren't. I loved the stories about The Bridge Ladies. It was interesting reading about their lives then and now, and how different the women's lives were compared to how young women live now. I wish the whole book had been solely about the Bridge Ladies.

But the author wrote a lot about herself. And why shouldn't she? It's her memoir! But I felt the parts about her life annoyed me. She didn't come off as likeable. And I
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When life unexpectedly took the middle-aged Lerner back to her hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, she spent several years sitting in on her mother’s weekly bridge games to learn more about these five Jewish octogenarians who have been friends for 50 years and despite their old-fashioned reserve have seen each other through the loss of careers, health, husbands and children. Although Lerner also took bridge lessons herself, this is less about the game and more about her ever-testy relationship w ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have to give this 5 stars because I really enjoyed the unfolding of this story and because it surprised me in a pleasant way. This was a heartwarming story about a daughter who wanted to know her distant mother better, as well as all the ladies who played bridge with her mom. This book had a strong tie to familial relationships, the Jewish culture, tradition, hardships, love and understanding. The author did a great job with the telling of their different stories and I absolutely loved her des ...more
DJ Sakata
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, edelweiss
My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

“Yes, my mother has told me about Eugene Genovese a hundred times, the Italian boy she had a huge crush on. It's her West Side Story without the snapping.”

“The recipe looks like a panel from the Dead Sea Scrolls: stained many times over with fish grease, darkened with age spots like the back of an older person's hand, annotated with figures for doubling the recipe, and unidentified schmutz... 'Now we take out the eyes,' my mother says with too much gusto. And then wi
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs-mothers
The story of the bridge ladies probably could have been a better book, if someone else had written it. Someone more objective, someone who didn’t feel the need to talk so much about her own life and her own generation. Thus, don’t think for a minute this is strictly a book about a group of elderly Jewish women and the game of bridge, because it’s not. A great deal of it is about literary agent Betsy Lerner’s life, filled with lots of therapy, trauma and drama--the main one apparently being her r ...more
The Bridge Ladies is a memoir of Betsy Lerner's time spent getting to know the women of her mother's bridge club. Although she had grown up around these women (the club has gone on for nearly 50 years) she feels that she has not penetrated the emotional heart of the club.

This begins a journey that delves back into the culture of the 1950s, what it means to grow old (at least in the U.S.), and how at least one daughter tries to negotiate (or renegotiate) her adversarial relationship with her moth
Heather Fineisen
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a charming sociological commentary on the women’s move me as well as relationships between mothers and daughters. Lerner chronicles the hopes and dreams of the bridge participants as well as their habits, including dress and drink. This really is heartfelt at times and humorous. Immensely relatable and enjoyable.

Copy provided by TLC Book Tours and Publisher
4.5 stars.
I really enjoyed this book. A 40 something woman, Betsy, moves back to her hometown with her family, and needs to navigate her relationship with her 80 year old mother. Her mother has been playing Bridge with 4 of her friends for over 50 years. Betsy starts attending the weekly Monday Bridge game, and starts to get to know her mother, and her friends, all over again. Betsy sees each woman, Bea, Bette, Rhoda and Jackie separately and as part of the Bridge group. Three are widows, one is
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love books about mother/daughter relationships and this book is a winner. The author tells it like it was, the good and the bad.

Her relationship with her mother was strained at times, but when she moves back to be near her mother who needed surgery, she gets to see her as she is with her friends and how they see her when she starts sitting in with her mother’s bridge club ladies.

The book takes you on a journey that many of us would love to go on with our mothers. I know I was close to my mom,
Jean Brown
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is good I just find myself rarely enjoying memoirs...I most enjoyed reading about The Bridge Ladies less the parts about the author's life. ...more
Susan Albert
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Our Story Circle book group read and enjoyed this--even the non-bridge-players (like me) have high praise for the book. Betsy Lerner manages to sympathetically but honestly depict a generation of ladies who are often criticized for their shallowness and focus on appearance. These are strong women, each in her own way, and Lerner allows us to see both their strengths and their frailties. An excellent mother-daughter memoir, and more.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
[ARC courtesy Amazon Vine program]

I loved the premise of this book -- a small group of women who get together for a weekly bridge game. For a half-century.

There were occasional flashes of insight that the players shared with the author, Betsy Lerner, who is a daughter of one of the group. The women seem rather stoic, and although they share memories of their young-adult days with Lerner, she seems vaguely disappointed. Initially, she seems bothered by their reserve; later, she second-guesses th
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found the author/narrator hopelessly self-centered and annoying. Nevertheless, she was able to tell this story of some amazing women who were all much more than what they might appear at first glance. I found myself tearing up more than once as I thought about how harshly I judged my own mother when I was in my teens and early twenties. Now on the back side of raising a child, I realize that what my mother did in keeping our household running smoothly was one big, tough job for which I never g ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully constructed memoir that gives even more care to the story, or the story of the attempt to build a story of the author’s mother, and to the parallel lives and histories of the octogenarians who have plaid bridge with the author’s mother for decades.

This could have been dull, a mess, or self-serving. But it was engaging and self-aware, but at least as other-aware. And it held together as an integrated narrative with well placed suspense far better than some novels I’ve read lately.
Claudia Silk
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is so much more than a book about the bridge ladies. It is about mother daughter relationships, it is about being in the sandwich generation, it is about love and loss. I loved each and everyone of the bridge ladies and I sympathized with the author's relationship with her mother. These ladies were from a different generation and it was a fascinating look at the changes that happened in their lifetime. It also sparked an interest in bridge that I have never had before. ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't read the description before reading, so I thought it was a novel and here it's nonfiction. It reads like a novel but no ending. (thank goodness!)

Here a daughter (about my age) talks to her mother and her bridge group, which has been going on for 50 years. She thought it would be a venting session each week but it's not--the ladies are formal with each others' personal life as much as the napkin rings and china plates used for the lunch before. They know the details of each other's life
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book wasn't what I expected, but I found it very enjoyable. I bought it because I'm a serious bridge lover, and I did get a kick out of watching the author learn to appreciate the game. But more than that, I enjoyed seeing her build a relationship with her mother and learn to appreciate the women of her mother's generation. While their story was quite different from mine, my mother and I had also had issues and I could relate to a lot of what they went through. ...more
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
****Audiobook ****

I really enjoyed this memoir about a daughter’s relationship with her mother AND her Bridge group. Also the narrator was superb!!

4 Stars
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Bridge Ladies is a memoir about a group of ladies who got together every Monday afternoon for 50 years to play bridge. On the surface, it's a book about the game of bridge but in reality it's so much more.

'I disrespected her for only caring about how things looked. I never understood how much there was to hide.' This is one of Betsy's comments about her mom very early in the book. They had a complicated mother daughter relationship. Betsy grew up in the age of women's liberation wanting to p
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This book is about so much more than bridge. It's about the expectations of and for women who were of marrying age in the 1950s. And it's about their children and especially their daughters -- what the '70s were like for them ... and what it was like to be a mother of a child growing up in the 70s when values were so very different. It's also about being part of the Jewish subculture in a gentile world. And yes, it's about bridge, which is really a device for discussing the varying parts of what ...more
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
So much more than bridge! Betsy Lerner captured mother daughter relationships, friendships, depression, and the choices we make. I have to admit that I loved the bridge lessons as well, since I have a passion for the game.
Author Betsy Lerner returned to her mother's home in New Haven to care for her after her mother had surgery. Betsy was pleased to see that her mother's bridge club, a club that had been in existence for 50 years, came to visit bearing food and gifts. Thinking of today's generation, Betsy knew all she would have received had she herself been post-surgery would have been texts with emojis and 'hope u feel better". This put Betsy in mid to try to find out more about her mother and her bridge buddie ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir about a group of ladies who have met every Monday for lunch and bridge for more than fifty years. One of these ladies is Roz, Betsy Lerner’s mother. As a teenager, Betsy can remember the ladies coming over to their house to play bridge and feeling dismissive of their lifestyles. These were all Jewish ladies who had married well, dressed well, took care of themselves and their greatest achievement was raising their families. Betsy was part of the sex-drugs-and-rock n’ roll genera ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
The author is the daughter of one of the ladies in a bridge group that played together for many years. She seems to me to lack a basic understanding of the influences that shaped her mother's generation of women as wives and mothers. She reiterates her frustration and disappointment in her mother and the other bridge ladies for choices they did, or did not, make throughout their lives over and over. If you were not rebellious in your youth, if you did not step outside the lines, then yours was n ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A poignant examination of relationships, most specifically the mother-daughter one. The author initially decides to explore her mother's eons-old Bridge group and how the ladies have weathered the years together. But not too long after her observations begin it becomes evident that it is her personal and difficult relationship with her mother that will be at the center of the story. Unexpectedly, Ms Lerner decides to take Bridge lessons herself and becomes a participant rather than observer in t ...more
Jim Mullin
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As an avid reader, every now and then a book will stand out and become a prized favorite i.e. one to be discussed and reread. The “Bridge Ladies” fits this explanation. The book reviews accurately set the tone of the book that deals with the trials and tribulations of aging parents discussed over a game of bridge. It is easy for me to identify with this as I am aging and I enjoy the game of bridge, playing two to three times a week both competitively and socially. As I read the book there were m ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A daughter connecting with her aging mother and her mother's friends makes for an engaging and thoughtful read. Lerner, an editor now living back in the same town as her mother, learns about these 5 women: their early lives, their marriages, and the importance of bridge in the 55 years they played it on Monday afternoons, complete with a homemade lunch. Lerner inserts observations about her own relationship with her mother and insights gained from knowing these women. She even forces herself to ...more
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40 likes · 25 comments
“It's just a game,” she says. Make no mistake: people who say it's just a game are out for blood.” 0 likes
“My mother is always eager to talk when I come over, as if she were a famous actress and I am Diane Sawyer.” 0 likes
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