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.
Look for Becky's new book, Off The Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge.
Hoping to shatter the myth of the widow as a black-clad elderly lady of perpetual sorrows, New York Newsday reporter Aikman resolved to organize her own group of renegade widows and record their spirited monthly meetings as an unscientific grief study framed within her cautious memoir of having lost her own husband. Widowed in her late 40s when her husband (older by 16 years) died after a long bout with cancer, Aikman rejected the defeatist litany of the usual widows support group, made up of much older women and dictated by the traditional five stages of grief codified by Elisabeth K bler-Ross, which Aikman dismisses, with some scientific basis, as a bunch of hooey. The group of five women she gathered were closer to her age, and despite being at different points in their widowhood, remarkably like Aikman, all apparently white, educated, attractive, upper middle-class women with jobs and nice homes or apartments in the New York metropolitan area. Occasionally they met at a restaurant or art gallery, spent a weekend at a spa, shopped for lingerie, and eventually took a daring trip together to Morocco. All the women had complicated stories of their husbands death, feelings of guilt and insecurity, and more or less healthy libidos. Indeed, dating and finding new partners prove the leitmotif, especially for the author, who had remarried a year before she even organized the group. As a result, the work feels stifled and lacking emotional drive, resulting in a kind of detached, academic tome.