Saturday Night Widows
The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives
By Becky Aikman
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307590435, 352pp.)
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
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Six marriages, six heartbreaks, one shared beginning.
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. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize.
A graduate of the School of Journalism at Columbia University, Becky Aikman was a writer and editor for Business Week and a reporter for Newsday. She lives in New York City.
- When Becky first convenes her group of “renegade widows,” she worries that they won’t feel a bond because their personalities are so different. Which is more important in forging friendships, similar personalities or shared experiences?
A Pulpwood Queen Book Club Selection of 2013
“[Aikman’s] hard-earned understanding, piercing humor and superb writing skill make this book about grief and recovery an unexpected delight, rich with wisdom and laughter.” – Washington Post
“[An] engaging, life-affirming story.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“A beautifully written and sometimes humorous study of loss and the power of friendship…. Though they mourn, sometimes with raw, soul-shaking honesty, the six women refuse to be defined by widowhood and give us lessons in joy and resilience — and art, travel and lingerie-shopping — that apply whatever one’s life stage or marital status.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Their stories of loss are touching, and the wisdom they gain is a testament to the durability of the human spirit.” – People
“[Aikman] and five other young widows reenter the world of the living, laughing, and – gulp – dating, all the while sharing frank talk, insight, and hope from the trenches." – Good Housekeeping
“Aikman’s memoir is an Eat, Pray, Love for widows, and her voice is as companionable as Elizabeth Gilbert’s….Saturday Night Widows should become required reading at support groups everywhere.” – Newsday
“Often desperate, sometimes feisty, partly hilarious, and warm as a fleecy blanket, Saturday Night Widows is a surprisingly feel-good, girl-bonding, which-role-will-Meryl-Streep-play-in-the-movie kind of a book. And I loved it….It’s sad, it’s happy, and, in fact, once you start Saturday Night Widows, you won’t be able to part with it.” – Terri Schlichenmeyer, Independent News
“Compelling….Along with the stories of six remarkably resilient and admirable women (ranging from an entrepreneur to a housewife), the book offers an arresting analysis of the literature of grief….A compassionate, inspirational and deeply personal read, Saturday Night Widows is relevant for a wider audience than the grieving. This book is for anyone who has faced adversity but refuses to let it define them.” – BookPage
“What should be depressing – six real-life young(ish) widows – is instead joyous and life-affirming without losing its edge.” – Family Circle, Momster blog
“Saturday Night Widows is a brilliant read that will be enlightening whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, or know someone who has. It is brave, it’s funny, it’s informative and it’s real life at its best and at its worst.” – Times Record News
“A story of loss and resilience, of sadness and starting over, of tragedy and endurance and of bravely seeking out the sunlight despite the gathering clouds.”
– Winnipeg Free Press
“Throughout her tragic tale, the widows speak through Becky, rendering deep and sincere accounts….Readers learn what it means to be left behind and how one must answer the questions that remain….More than anything, Becky leaves readers with the best remedy for overcoming loss – move forward, living and loving without trepidation.” – The Weekender
“A spirited, insightful memoir about a group of young widows who gather together once a month to cheer each other on and have fun.” – Shelf Awareness
“Aikman tells this life-affirming tale with compassion and candor.” – Booklist (starred review)
“Engaging and entertaining but not maudlin, Aikman shows a side of life that many readers probably don't think about. A compassionate narrative about how one group of friends helped each other thrive after the deaths of their spouses.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Can six disparate women who’ve just suffered unimaginable and premature loss find wit, irony, strength, and growth with each other? Becky Aikman's Saturday Night Widows proves it in a laugh-inducing, page-turning way. It's like The Help. Female bonding – a subject we thought we knew – gets a delicious, heartwarming overhaul, and you, the reader, didn't see it coming. Lucky you!”
– Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us
“It’s the spirit of a book that makes you love it. And the spirit here, Becky Aikman’s spirit, is tough, honest, funny, smart, and generous to the world – all the equipment one needs when dealing with grief. One would not wish to qualify for the widows’ club, but reading about it is heartening.”
– Roger Rosenblatt, author of Kayak Morning and Making Toast
“For anyone who has ever loved, lost, and relied on the companionship of women, Saturday Night Widows is a gem of a read that will affirm the power of friendship, new beginnings, and the ability of the human spirit to survive and thrive. I cheered on each of these women as they faced their own darkest moments and looked to the power of sisterhood and shared experience to remake their futures.” – Lee Woodruff, author of Those We Love Most and In an Instant