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 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)
“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
How to cope with tragedy with the help of good friends.
“I didn’t seem to fit anyone’s definition of a proper widow, least of all my own,” writes former Newsday writer Aikman, “you know, the Ingmar Bergman version, gloomy, pathetic, an all-around, ongoing downer.” Five years after her husband died after a long bout with cancer, the author realized she wasn’t ready to quit living just yet and surmised that there must be others just like her. She gathered together five other women, all unknown to each other, and they formed a support group—not just to move past their grief, but hopefully, on to new and richly fulfilling lives. In this debut memoir, Aikman brings together the sad yet optimistic stories of these women, who were widowed at far too early an age. Faced with paying mortgages on their own, raising small children or not having someone to eat dinner with, these women managed to move beyond the initial shock and were ready to take new steps toward a different way of being. Meeting once a month for a year, “on Saturday night, the most treacherous shoal for new widows, where untold spirits have sunk into gloom,” the group tried cooking together, going to an art museum, a day at a spa and other activities. 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.
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.
At first I didn’t realize this book was a memoir, but once I did, it tripled the significance. I think it’s an excellent book for anyone that’s ever lost anyone. It drives the point home that, yes, it is ok to laugh and live again. Although I’m not a widow, it was definitely something I could have benefited from when I lost my grandfather. Even if you haven’t lost someone, it’s just a very moving story that deserves to be heard.