This book, written for an American demographic familiar with the AmericanJewish way of life, does not translate particularly well into Australian culture.There are many similes and references to American products or personalitieswhich would mystify the average Aussie reader. These similes are no doubtclever, creative and possibly humorous, but they often fail to illuminate thepoint because something is lost in translation.
There are numerous Jewish terms used, but no glossary is included,although some of the meanings can be guessed from the context. If youread it on an e-reader, then you won’t have this problem, because pressingand holding a word will show you its meaning. If you are so enthralled withthe story that using a dictionary is worth the trouble, you will need to do so onevery other page.
Betsy Lerner, in her early 50s, has written her memoir of a journey into thelives of her mother and four of her mother’s friends. Roz (mother), Rhoda,Jackie, Bea and Bette have met to play Bridge every Monday for the last 50years in New Haven, Connecticut. These ladies, now in their 80s,carefully apply make-up and dress meticulously for the weekly occasion.
Unfortunately, it seems something of a self-indulgent journey for Ms Lerner.She appears to still be in her adolescent phase for much of the book andfrequently comes across as a stereotypical product of her generation, almostto the point of boredom. Her immature attitude is reflected in the poorlanguage and sometimes limited vocabulary she chooses to use in print.
Fortunately however, there is a discernable maturing in her attitude towardher mother in the final quarter of the book. The front cover declares ‘Thebest book about mothers and daughters I’ve read in decades, maybe ever’, acomment by Amy Chua with which I cannot agree. Similarly, on the backcover: ‘… Lerner’s memoir is required reading for anyone who has ever hada mother.’ All I can say is – I sincerely hope not.
The game of Bridge is the glue that holds the book together and Betsyshares her colourful and sometimes amusing struggle in trying to come togrips with learning how to play this game. She finally achieves… well I can’treally divulge that here, but let’s say the final outcome is satisfactory enoughto make the often frustrating effort of reading this book reasonably worthwhileafter all.
The Bridge Ladies
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