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Literature & Fiction

The Bridge Club - Patricia Sands

The Bridge Club

Author: Patricia Sands
Book title: The Bridge Club
ISBN: 1450241352
ISBN13: 978-1450241359
Publisher: iUniverse (August 25, 2010)
Language: English
Category: Literary
Rating: 4.2/5
Votes: 856
Pages: 396 pages
More formats: lrf txt mbr lrf

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Where can you find a story about friendship, laughter and the good things in life that also touches on alcoholism, infidelity, porn addiction, terminal illness and grief?  For most women, it's often within their own circle of friends.Patricia Sands reminds us of the complexities of women's friendships in The Bridge Club, a moving tale of eight women whose lives intersect once a month initially to play the game of bridge.  What began as one night turns into four decades that span the segments of a woman's journey from youthful optimism to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented in life's later years.For more than forty years, the mantra of these women has been "one for all and all for one." Beginning their monthly soiree in the psychedelic Sixties, unpredicted twists of fate weave through the good times and strong friendship they share as the years pass. The constant from one decade to the next is loyal and nonjudgmental support, even when agreeing to disagree is the final solution. From the exhilarating cultural changes of their early times together through the "zoomer" years, their connection never falters.As they celebrate turning sixty at a group birthday weekend, each woman recalls a time in her life when the Bridge Club came to the rescue. After tossing around ideas mixed with a generous helping of common sense and a large dose of laughter they decide to refer to that time as their "SOS". Eight chapters document each one's story.Everything is put into perspective and the strength of their friendship is tested when one of these women faces a life-altering decision. Her choice profoundly affects all of the group, pushing the limits of their beliefs and values. The unique alliance they share is confronted with an unimaginable crisis.Based loosely on her own bridge club, Sands weaves the reader through a maze of life's inevitable scenarios as the club bears the death of a member's spouse, one woman's meeting with her biological mother, the inevitable marital and health issues, and another's final chance at freedom from the painful addiction to alcohol through rehab.Although she has taken liberties with the actual events and it is truly a work of fiction, most issues faced by the characters in the book were experienced in her own bridge club. The bottom line of the story is a testament to friendship and hope.   
Reviews: (7)
My Disclaimer:
I purchased this book at full price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✰✰✰✰✰
As soon as I finished this book, I went back and reread the first chapter to see if I had missed something. No, I hadn’t missed it, I simply hadn’t realized how important it was when I read it. The scene is set right there in the very beginning for the ending, and by allowing that to slip my mind, I had let the ending sneak up on me totally unprepared.

This book has definitely gone to my favorites list. I will have to read it several more times in my life. It has a lot to say. These eight women come together in a group to play bridge. Well, they do play bridge, but the group is so much more than that. The women support each other and socialize together over forty years. They know things about each other that no one else knows.

Each of them has a crisis in their life and the book tells how the group helps each woman through the time when it happens. For each of them, it is something different. One of them discovers she is gay, another loses her husband. One woman needs to find her way in a traditional world when she is not a traditional person. Another has to face alcoholism. And still another a husband with an internet porn addiction. Then, in the end, they all come together to help one of their number deal with the ultimate crisis.

How this group of eight women deals with each other and each of these situations is amazing. Some of them have made connections with professionals in their careers that are helpful, one has very strong faith, and they are all there for each other with respect and love.

This book definitely takes a box of tissues and some tea to read. And it must be done in one sitting because you can’t put it down once you start it. I would recommend this as a fabulous book club choice as well. It would be great for discussion in a group. I highly recommend this to women’s lit readers or to any women who like to read about women facing life and the changes or passages of life. No wonder this book got so many award nominations.

This review is dedicated to Kathy, Lesley, and Maria with love, respect, and sadness.
I decided to give this book a try, and downloaded the free sample. It definitely caught my attention. Ti-Ming, I would like to think. The Bridge Club is a very good book, one of the greatest I have read, in fact. Through its pages I've found delicious adventures, definitive turning points in life, sad farewells and delightful welcomes, but most of all, reallly true "friendship", the key word to the story. The kind of friendship that challenges you to put out with hard curveballs, feeling you're not going to be alone, ever. The kind of friendship that allows you to be a better you, and makes you and the others feel proud of it. The kind of friendship that is always there, still making your days easier knowing you are cherished, even after a whole life and hard decisions made.
I love when I arrive to the end of a book and I am still hungry for more. But what I love the most is when I finish a great book, and all I can think about is... Ti-Ming.
That's the best!
The premise of this novel is interesting enough, but once I started reading it, I couldn't believe how much summary there was. The writing was sentimental and wordy, and the author either never heard of the adage, "Show, don't tell," or she disregarded it. I couldn't get through it. Examples of telling, not showing: "a litany of instances where Art had been inappropriately critical of her in front of others. What he said to her in public didn't begin to compare to what he saved for her in private. Sometimes what he wasn't saying hurt more." Probably many women have been in relationships with verbally abusive men, and it wouldn't have been hard to show a few scenes in which Art criticized her; I would have been more empathic, but instead of I was bored. There was potential for tension in each section as the characters dealt with different crises: alcoholism, divorce, illness, one realizing she was gay--but I never felt any dramatic action. Before the women staged an intervention for Bonnie, who was an alcoholic, the chapter began, "Bonnie's S.O.S was all about taking responsibility for one's choices and sticking to them." This sounds more like the beginning of a lecture delivered to a middle school student than an opening to a tense intervention (and again, it's needless summary). What surprises me the most is how many people enjoyed this book, because I never felt pulled into the story.
The Bridge Club, a novel by Patricia Sands, is a Finalist in the General Fiction category for ForeWord Reviews 2010 Book Of The Year and I can easily see why. The premise of this novel is: Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request. According to the author, the novel is based loosely on the author's own bridge club, and the story weaves the reader through a maze of life's inevitable scenarios.

Any woman who has a lifelong, well connected friendship will love this book. The book introduces you to eight different women and takes you through the points in their life when they most needed the friendship of the bridge club. Each character has their own chapter to explain what they were going through and how they felt at that time. The first and last chapters explain to you why we're revisiting the women of the club.

The last chapters threw me for a curve-ball. I couldn't figure out which of the eight women it was talking about, who was going through the problem that had led them where they were to suffer through what could be the hardest thing a friend could suffer through. I think the author did this to show us, the readers, that it can happen to anyone, you won't know who.

This book was very well written. It was long enough (at approx 400pgs) for you to connect with and know each character. This is a thought provoking book that anyone who has a deep friendship will adore. Good luck to the author, Patricia Sands! I was not paid for this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own and were in no way swayed. Thank you for taking the time to read! -Melissa
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