Monday 8 July 2019

Book ~ "Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives" (2013) Becky Aikman

From Goodreads ~ In her forties - a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role - Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. In this transcendent and infectiously wise memoir, she explores surprising new discoveries about how people experience grief and transcend loss and, following her own remarriage, forms a group with five other young widows to test these unconventional ideas. Together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity.

Meet the Saturday Night Widows: ringleader Becky, an unsentimental journalist who lost her husband to cancer; Tara, a polished mother of two, whose husband died in the throes of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Denise, a widow of just five months, now struggling to get by; Marcia, a hard-driving corporate lawyer; Dawn, an alluring self-made entrepreneur whose husband was killed in a sporting accident, leaving two small children behind; and Lesley, a housewife who returned home one day to find that her husband had committed suicide. 

The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys - dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves - while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. 

I had read and liked Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge by this author last year so was interested in reading something else by her, which turned out to be this book.  I didn't know what it was about ... I assumed from the title that it was fiction and about six friends who get together on Saturday nights because their husbands are watching sports.  Boy, was I wrong!  Ha!

This book is Becky's memoir about becoming a widow and finding her life again.  When she was in her forties, Becky's husband, Bernie, had cancer and passed away.  About a year later, she was ready to live again.  Looking for inspiration, she attended a widows' support group but soon discovered that it wasn't for her (she was actually asked not to come back).  She did research and decided to start her own widows' support group.  She found five women - Marcia, Tara, Dawn, Lesley and Denise - and asked them to join her group.  Each had been widowed from six month to two years and their husbands had passed away in various ways including illness, an accident and a suicide.  They met once a month for a year and did something fun such as a cooking class, a visit to a museum, a spa weekend and a trip to Morocco.

Becky, Marcia, Tara, Dawn, Lesley and Denise

Though each woman was different and probably wouldn't have found each other but for this group, they ended up great friends.  Not only did they participate in fun activities that were sometimes out of their comfort zones but it also gave them the opportunity to talk about how they were feeling and what they wanted out of life with others who knew what they were going through.

I found this book interesting (I like reading memoirs).  Sometimes I found it confusing, though, as to who the women were and what their stories were.  We do find out about them but it was scattered throughout the book.  I think it would have been easier (at least for me) had I been introduced to the women in the beginning and let them have their own chapter (which would have made it easier for me to refer back to when/if I needed).  Plus it would have been nice to have a picture of the women so I could put a face to them (I'm visual).  I read an e-version so maybe there were pictures in an actual book?  I had to Google and find a picture of them and keep it handy (that's the one above).

I found it odd that the author would start this support group after she had been married to Bob, husband #2, for a while.  I wonder how the other women felt about this as they were trying to get their lives together and move on when Becky had appeared to have moved on.  I found it a bit sad that some of these women didn't feel their lives were complete unless/until they found a new man.

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