The Bette Davis Club Review
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Many of us spend our lives chasing something, whether it’s fame or fortune, love or happiness. In The Bette Davis Club by the late humorist Jane Lotter, a 50-something woman finds herself chasing a runaway bride—but she learns a lot about all of those other things in the process.

The story begins as Margo Just arrives at her niece’s lavish wedding in Los Angeles. But before the ceremony can begin, Margo’s half-sister, Charlotte, informs her that the bride, Georgia, has gone missing—and she’s taken something very valuable with her. Charlotte offers Margo $50,000 to find Georgia and bring her home—and, since Margo is just one step away from bankruptcy, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. So she ends up hopping into her late father’s classic MG and racing off with the heartbroken groom, Tully, on a cross-country chase to find the runaway bride.

Despite its modern-day setting, The Bette Davis Club was written with a distinctly old-fashioned, old-Hollywood style. It’s the kind of fun-filled road trip caper that might remind you of your favorite black and white comedy.

This is one classy, classic read, beginning at the kind of grand, elegant affair that you only see in the movies: a party thrown by Hollywood producer Charlotte and attended by the town’s most famous and influential residents. Then, as Margo and Tully set out, they do so not in a private jet or a big, fancy SUV but in a classic sports car, speeding along Route 66 to Palm Springs—with the top down, of course.

Throughout their journey, Margo and Tully get into all kinds of wild and crazy adventures, whether Margo’s competing in a women-only samba competition or they’re in a high-speed chase through big-city traffic with a big, angry thug. They meet plenty of eccentric characters, too. And, in the process, their unhappy mission turns into an unexpectedly enjoyable experience.

Meanwhile, the time on the road with an unhappy stranger also gives Margo plenty of time to reflect—to think about the mistakes and heartbreaks of her youth. Margo works in architectural salvage, which means that she spends her life surrounded by artifacts of the past—but that’s true of so much more than just her business life. She’s spent decades living in the past, holding on to lost love and impossible dreams. And she eventually discovers that it sometimes takes a whole lot of highway to figure out where your life is going.

With its quirky adventures and its thought-provoking message, The Bette Davis Club is every bit as meaningful as it is fun to read. And that makes it worth chasing after (or at least picking up a copy at your favorite bookstore).

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