** The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

The Bridge Ladies is the portrait of the set of friends of the author’s mother, who have known each other for decades and gotten together each Monday for lunch, bridge, and conversation. Lunch can now be held at a diner but used to be an elaborate affair at each woman’s home, in rotation. I found these women to be fascinating, as their stories unroll in flashbacks and often guarded conversations. Sadly, the author seems intent on applying her generation rules to them, and judges their choices rather harshly, when it would have been more effective to just tell the stories, I think. It is true that they pretty much gave up on careers, although they were well-educated and would have met with much success — but they don’t seem to resent it in the way younger women might. Why not just illustrate how a different view of the world makes for a completely different interpretation of the same facts?

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