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THE BRIDGE LADIES

A MEMOIR

Nostalgic stories from women who came of age before feminism and how they helped a daughter bond with her mother.

A woman reconnects with her mother through her bridge club.

For more than 50 years, a group of Jewish women in New Haven has gathered every Monday to eat lunch and play bridge. As a young child, Lerner (Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories, 2003, etc.) was fascinated with these ladies, who showed up with “their hair frosted, their nylons shimmery, carrying patent leather pocketbooks with clasps as round as marbles.” But as a teenager, she thought these women were “square” because they “didn’t work, didn’t seem to get that Feminism was taking over the world….To me, the Bridge Ladies were conventional, their sphere limited to family, synagogue and community. Their identities restricted to daughter, mother, and wife. What could be more tedious? More demeaning? On top of which their idea of fun was an afternoon of playing Bridge. Seriously?” It was only when Lerner moved back to New Haven to help her aging mother that she began to understand the Bridge Ladies and their fierce loyalties and friendships that continued despite a certain level of boredom with each other. Lerner interviewed each of the women in turn, learning about their successes and failures, love interests, children, and ability to commit to one man for a lifetime. During this process, she also found ways to ask her mother about her own childhood. The author decided to learn how to play bridge, a task she found more difficult than she’d imagined. She interweaves her bridge-playing attempts with stories about the Bridge Ladies to give a portrayal of a certain sector of women who came of age before feminism was the norm. Lerner captures an era that has long since faded, but it is a time period that gave birth to today’s modern woman, a fact that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Nostalgic stories from women who came of age before feminism and how they helped a daughter bond with her mother.

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-235446-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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