Monday, January 27, 2014

Saturday Night Widows

Title: Saturday Night Widows
Author:  Becky Aikman
Publication Information:  Broadway Books, Crown Publishing Group, Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. 2013. 353 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a paperback edition.

Favorite Quote:  "We had hit on common ground, the one remedy we shared - the company of like-minded worm as balm against trouble, a force for good in the battle with genies."

Becky Aikman is a journalist in New York City. She is from a small town in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She also was a young widow - losing her husband to cancer when she was only in her forties. As she set out to redefine her life, she put her journalism skills to work, learning about grief and about reinventing oneself and about finding those who could understand and share her journey.

The book begins with the statement, "I got kicked out of my widow support group." It begins with a description of what did not work for her - a support group in which most of the members were older and at a different point in life when they lost their spouses. Yes, all had lost a spouse, but for Becky, that is where the similarity ended.

She knew that there had to be others like her. So, she set on a quest to find them - through friends, acquaintances, and anyone she talked to. She assembled a group of five other women - all widowed at around her age. That was the common ground. They met once, and immediately found that connection of someone who understood their grief, who understood their struggle, and who understood their need for joy. The stories of their marriages and their families were all different; yet, the fact of being young widows - their grief and their belief that life still held joy - drew them together.

They agreed to meet once a week for a year as an informal support group. They met on Saturday nights because that was a time of week and of day where it was difficult to be alone and without plans. This book is a memoir of that year, and within that context, a memoir of Becky's journey.

Their monthly meetings ranged from a spa day and a museum visit to a trip to Morocco as the culmination of the year. They set out looking for support, and found friendship.

To me, this book is about friendship, in particular that special relationship you find when a friend understands what you are going through and offers compassion, advice, and sometimes a push to get you through.

I hope that no one ever has to experience the loss these women did.  I hope to never learn what that feels like. What I do understand is that friendship and that the fact that even "when the worst, no question, had already happened," you can find people to help you through and you can find joy. I feel like I got to know these women and the friendship they found. I feel like I would enjoy getting to know these women better, and I wish them all the joy in the future.

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