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Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives Hardcover – January 22, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 239 customer reviews

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Q&A with Becky Aikman

Becky Aikman

Q. What gave you the idea of forming your own widows’ support group?

A. Losing someone close to you has to be one of life’s most universal experiences, but it wasn’t until it happened to me at a relatively young age that I realized our culture doesn’t provide much guidance about how to reinvent yourself afterward. I hoped that by joining with other young widows, we could lighten the task by facing this daunting transition together.

Q. What kinds of things did the group do together?

A. I had joined a traditional support group before, but the goal seemed to be to sit in a circle and talk about how sad we were. And there weren’t even any snacks! So I put together more of a renegade group, looking to the future, and focused on doing, not talking. Although we did wind up talking our heads off, too, we also cooked together, volunteered, invited widowers to meet us. We went through the family home of one of the women when she was packing up to move. We even went lingerie shopping together when some of the women started to look for love again. Ultimately, we took a transforming trip to a place none of us had visited before. Along the way, we shared a few tears, but a lot more laughter.

Q. How did you put the group together? Did their differences create conflict?

A. My process for finding the other women, mostly by asking around, couldn’t have been more random. Then when I introduced everybody the first time, I thought, “Wow, did I make a mistake.” It was a crazy mismatch of personalities. All we had in common was that each woman had suffered through a tragedy that had turned her life upside down. I was afraid that this was going to be one sad story, snacks or no snacks. But instead, it turned into an adventure story, not only the adventures we shared, but the adventures each of us encountered as we navigated our way through incredible changes.

Q. Did the group help you, too?

A. When I started the group, I viewed myself as the journalist who would chronicle our story. I had remarried four years after my husband died, shortly before the group’s first meeting. But my grief was still fresh, and I was coping with all the upheaval of trying to cobble together a new life, with a new career, new husband, new stepdaughter, new home, and new dog. I began to rely on the example of the group, and its good, old-fashioned girlfriend advice, for how to put a new life together and keep it in balance with my memories from the past.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Former Newsday reporter Aikman lost her husband to cancer while still in her forties. After several discouraging experiences in bereavement support groups, she assembled her own collection of young widowed women like herself, who sought to honor their husbands’ memories and rebuild their lives. It was an eclectic ensemble: Tara, a well-put-together mother of two whose husband died of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Marcia, a corporate lawyer with a crooked smile and a hidden wit; contemplative Denise, who found solace in yoga; sensuous self-made entrepreneur Dawn; and Lesley, a homemaker who returned home one day to find that her husband had taken his life. The women met once a month, sharing meals, visiting museums, and even traveling to Morocco in an adventure that is one of the highlights of the book. Laughter and tears abounded as they comforted and confided in one another. Aikman tells this life-affirming tale with compassion and candor, revealing her own emotional journey and eventual romance with a man who has her considering marriage again. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1St Edition edition (January 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307590437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307590435
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Angelfish VINE VOICE on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I chose this book because at age 59 I found myself a widow,loosing my husband of 42+ years to ALS ( Lou Gehrigs Disease).
I could so relate to this book!!! I think people should read it just to learn what to do ,say to someone that has lost a spouse in a tragic way.

The Saturday night meetings start after it's founder is basically booted out of a support group!
A support group that reallly goes no where in the sense that it does not encourage the group to move on with life, to deal with their feelings.

The Saturady Night Widows talked about and said the things I have felt since my husband died 2 years ago. People can be very ignorant and cruel, they may not be trying to be but if they would take the time to listen to themselves I think they would realize that what they are doing/saying is hurtful.

Telling me he was in a better place made me angry, no he isn't he should be here with me. Watching your loved one die a little more each day is torture, you can't stop it, can't do a damm thing you have to be strong. You know he is going to die yet each day you have to smile and be cheerful while inside you too are dying in a differnt way.You have to watch as each day he gets weaker, looses the ability to walk, talk, move, write, smile, kiss you goodnight, go to the bathroom, and at some point he can no longer swallow and you know the end is near. Put yourself in this position when you appraoch someone that has lost their spouse. Listen to them, don't give advice or judge,

Asking me if I am over it yet is totally lacking in respect and sympathy.Not accepting his wishes to not have a funeral and telling me you do not agree is disrespectful,it is none of your business.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Becky Aikman was widowed young when her much-older husband dies of cancer. For this book, she gathers together a group of six women in the same situation. Together, the young widows don't just grieve, but actively try to move on with their lives, and not just survive, but thrive. She plans monthly outings for the group in the hope of staving off the diminished life that widowhood could engender.

I welcomed Ms. Aikman's desire to see these women return to a full and expansive life. The women she brings together are each lively, interesting and unique individuals. There is no "grieving widow" stereotype to be found in these pages. The women are sometimes bewildered, at times even brought low, by their fates, but they're also full of life and open to new experiences.

But even enjoying the book on this level, I couldn't fully engage with these women. It's not only that I haven't been in their situation, but frankly, I'm down here in the 99% while they're working through their issues in the 1% stratosphere. I tired of the brand-name dropping -- La Perla, Miu Miu, Barneys -- and the repetitive descriptions of everyone's just-so hair, clothing and bodies. (No more references to Tara's "smoky" voice, please!) They have fabulous Manhattan apartments and well-appointed summer places.

Money sure does smooth their way; the women tour the Metropolitan Museum with a private guide, shop at an exclusive lingerie boutique that opens after-hours for them, while away the weekend at a spa hideaway, vacation in Morocco. Ms. Aikman is disdainful of those who grieve in more sedate ways. I almost put the book down after the first chapter in which she lets us know how unsuited she was to a traditional grief support group by trashing the others who attended.
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18 Comments 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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