• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
  • Archives

Stand By Your Man

Q&A with George Hodgman, author of Bettyville, BFF, funniest, warmest, kindest most outrageous friend this poor little publishing girl has ever had. George, here is to nearly 30 years of friendship in the great game of life, love and publishing. Your memoir is everything and more. Dear all: treat yourself to this brilliant book and buy one for a friend. And if you can stop by for a reading if there’s one in your town (tour dates below) you will definitely have a great night.  Love, Sue Mengers (aka me)

Bettyville cover

Q: When you were an editor, what was the worst trait you see in an author.

Bullheaded contentment with utter mediocrity coupled with Hush Puppies worn during office visits.

Q What is your worst trait as an author?

Intense preoccupation with quality until the ms. goes into production. Exhaustion in the last laps. I fade too fast. Prematurely so to speak. Now I wish I had another chance for just one more go-round. I needed editorial Viagra.

Q All the years you spent editing, did you ever think you would write your own book? Let’s just say, I think my authors wished I would…

I always, always wanted to, but I had given up. I really had. However, I have learned that giving up, letting the pressure off can sometimes lead to good things. From now on, I intend to give up more often.

I am thinking of taking up tennis just so I can give it up. Perhaps this will take me to Forest Hills.

QUESTION TO READERS: What do you want in a memoir?


“BETTYVILLE is a gorgeous memoir. I was completely engaged, not just because of George Hodgman’s great ear and his sense of timing and, but because he delivers Betty to us in such a manner that she steps off the page. I felt transported to a better place, to a time period and a web of relationships with which we can all identify, no matter where we grew up. Beyond the humor and the pathos, the quotidian and the bizarre, there remain profound lessons about life and love that I will carry away.”

Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“BETTYVILLE  is an exquisitely written memoir about the complicated but deeply genuine love a son feels for his courageous, headstrong, vulnerable mother in the twilight of her life. George Hodgman is stunningly clear-eyed and yet so darn big-hearted. Bettyville is just wonderful.”

–Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle

“The idea of a cultured gay man leaving New York City to care for his aging mother in Paris, Missouri, is already funny, and George Hodgman reaps that humor with great charm. But then he plunges deep, examining the warm yet fraught relationship between mother and son with profound insight and understanding. This book looks outside, too, offering a moving lament for small-town America. Hodgman tenderly evokes the time before family farms and small businesses were replaced by meth labs and Walmarts. BETTYVILLE is a beautiful book about the strange plenitude that comes from finally letting go of everything.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

Author Events:


10/1                       Heartland Fall Forum

New  York

3/10                       Barnes & Noble Upper West Side


3/11                       Bookcourt

Washington, D.C.

3/12                       Politics & Prose


3/13                       Books & Books

Vero Beach

3/14                       Vero Beach Book Center

San Francisco

3/16                       Book Passage

3/17                       Books Inc.

Los Angeles

3/18                       Book Soup

8 Responses

  1. warms my heart, lovely lovely, just lovely.

  2. “QUESTION TO READERS: What do you want in a memoir?”

    For the writer to be in the background as far as possible, and maybe a little further.

  3. I want everything, all the gory details—feelings, bathroom habits, neuroses and psychoses, income tax statements, the lot. I want to know everything after reading a memoir. This one sounds necessary.

  4. In a memoir? A bit of amusement, a bit of mystery, a sense of fun.

  5. In a memoir, I want a connection, a reminder of something I’ve forgotten but will always know.
    And to George Hodgman, I like what you said about taking the pressure off yourself.

  6. I am listening to Terry Gross interview Mr. Hodgman right now. What a good man, to not only be there for his mother in the last part of her life, but to want to do it. I wish I had this sort of grace when my own mother was dying. I have the impression that this memoir can teach us all how to be better participants in other people’s lives.

  7. Wha? No Portland, OR visit at Powell’s?? Dang!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: