Verdict: The Bridge Club is about friendship, growing old and life, with all its ups and downs. A moving read.
When the women of the bridge club get together, it’s not so much for the cards as it is for the comaraderie.
The Bridge Club is the story of eight women who started off as a monthly bridge club, and transformed themselves over the decades into what they call a “life raft” or a “support of sisters” (SOS) group for one another. When they have an issue that they need to address, it’s time for an SOS meeting. There is a chapter covering each of the bridge club member’s unique and emotional SOS: Cass is considering embarking on an around the world sailing adventure with a new love; Jane is dealing with angst about how to introduce Sam, her new lover, to her parents -Sam’s not Jewish AND Sam’s a woman; Bonnie is dealing with alcoholism; Lynn is meeting her biological mother and coming to terms with her past; Pam loses her husband suddenly to pancreatic cancer; Marti is considering cosmetic surgery; Dee has a lump in her breast and Danielle discovers her husband has an addiction to internet pornography.
Author Patricia Sands effectively portrays a circle of friends whose friendship has developed over time, surviving changes in families, relationships, careers and life in general. Sand’s writing is evocative and she reveals the weaknesses and strengths of each woman as she moves through her crisis with sadness, angst and levity. By her side every step of the way of her SOS are her bridge club sisters helping maintain perspective by referring to the “Chinese art of Ti-Ming” and drawing on lessons of life.
Most chapters are set up to introduce a character, the background and set the stage for the SOS moment for the Bridge Club members to intervene with guidance and support. The chapter concludes with a bridge game. Though this formula is quite successful for the most part, there are a few sections where the set-up can be filled with narrated information to ‘brief’ you on the character thus far and then becomes a little too dialogue heavy once the Bridge Club members intervene and lacks the descriptiveness that keeps the book dynamic. There are other sections in which Sands reveals hope and transformation in description, rather than generalized narrative:
“They marveled at the gentle beauty of the white-tailed deer frequently spotted moving silently through the maze of leafless trees that offered the slightest hint of green from their bud-tipped branches. The day they caught sight of the first red-winged blackbird, confirming winter was most definitely over, Marti felt she had turned the corner too and could actually feel good about what she was seeing in the mirror. She was forging into the next season with no regrets about change and new resolutions about the future.”
The prologue is strong and captures the reader’s attention as the women gather together for a very special occasion, but then the narrative begins to slows down a little, again with the background information which attempts to fill the reader in on the bridge club’s transitions and transformations with the changing culture of the times, the music, the political scene. Though this information is both relevant to reveal how the women have stayed close in spite of the forty odd years of change, this information is alluded to or mentioned in one form or another in the stories of the women themselves, so is not really necessary in the first chapter. However, once this ‘stage’ is set, the pace picks up again, ebbing and flowing at times, but finally culminating in an emotional and thought provoking conclusion.
The Bridge Club is about friendship, growing old and life, with all its ups and downs. A moving read.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
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