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Customer Review

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Endings are also beginnings.", December 1, 2012
This review is from: Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Saturday Night Widows," by Becky Aikman, is about a "group of renegade widows" who are determined to "move forward after loss." Becky had remarried before their first meeting, but still misses Bernie, her first husband, who died after a long struggle with cancer. She is gradually growing accustomed to life with her new husband, Bob, and his daughter, Lily. Becky recruits five women between the ages of thirty-nine and fifty-seven: Tara, whose alcoholic husband passed away before their divorce became final; the painfully thin and fragile Denise, a widow for just five months; Marcia, a tough-minded and ambitious corporate lawyer; Dawn, a gorgeous businesswoman; and Lesley, a housewife whose husband suddenly took his own life. Tara, Dawn, and Lesley have children; the others do not. All six women meet once a month for a year, and participate in a variety of activities, culminating in an exotic trip to the Moroccan desert. As the six ladies get to know one another better, they unwind and begin to reveal their feelings of guilt, anxiety, and loneliness, as well as their hopes and dreams for a better future.

Aikman, a journalist who worked for "Newsday," admits that she and her five companions are, in many ways, atypical. They are relatively young and affluent, and have the ability, means, and motivation to reinvent themselves. For example, they go on a shopping spree to a high-end lingerie shop, luxuriate in a spa, and embark on the aforementioned travel adventure. Most widows, especially those with limited income and dependent children, simply get on with life as best they can and rarely indulge in extravagant pleasures.

Still, in "Saturday Night Widows," the author, who is an outstanding descriptive writer, intelligently and sensitively explores universal themes that any woman who has suffered the pain of losing her husband can understand and appreciate. Aikman consulted scientists who have studied recovery after loss, and some researchers contend "that happy experiences with real people can be more helpful than wallowing in old-fashioned support groups based on outdated theories." With this in mind, Becky's small network of friends laughed and cried together, leaned on one another when necessary, and opened themselves up to new opportunities. This is a funny, heartfelt, poignant, and well-crafted book in which we get to know each widow and cheer when one of them dares to dip her toe into the perilous waters of a new relationship. Far from being a depressing and misery-laden memoir, "Saturday Night Widows" accentuates the positive: sisterhood is indeed powerful, we are more resilient than we think, and although we inevitably grieve for our loved ones, we need not become so mired in the past that we lose ourselves completely in the process.
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