Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Magic Room Book Review

Ava Joy was only a few days old when I picked up The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow and began reading. Now, since BlogHer had asked me to participate in this book review, I had a faint idea of what the book would be about, and having just birthed my third daughter, I thought I would love it.

And then I realized that this book was not a work of fiction like I had supposed.

Y'all, do you know how long it's been since I read a book that was not a work of fiction? I mean, I haven't read much lately (at least compared to my pre-3-kids days), but even what I have read has mainly been fiction. Any non-fiction I read has been strictly limited to news articles. So I braced myself.

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Weaving together stories of the Becker family of Fowler, Michigan, the bridal shop they have owned for three generations, and the brides-to-be who visit the shop, Zaslow poignantly uncovers the nature of the hopes parents- particularly mothers- have for their daughters as they enter into marriage. Stepping into the famed "Magic Room" with a series of brides and their loved ones, Zaslow discovers that the secret heart of the most stoic father and the most distant mother is brought, however briefly, to the surface, in this mystical place. And there, in their heart of hearts, are the fears and dreams of generations.

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Walking through a bookstore, I probably would not have chosen this book for myself. I most likely would not have been in the non-fiction section to begin with, and once there, I would probably have chosen a book that I felt was going to impart more relevant information for my current situation (and let's be honest here: that probably would have meant something about adoption or breastfeeding or living in the South without loosing your senses.)

My wedding dress on my wedding day.
December 26, 2009

But I'm glad I read this book. I think, like many parents who read this book, it brought my own hopes, dreams, and fears about marriage to the surface. After all, it was only 3 years ago that I was being zipped in and out of bridal gowns in search of the dress that said "I love you forever." Certainly, this remembering has also lead to me thinking about what I do want for my three beautiful daughters* as they grow and commit to marriage. But moreso, reading this book has been good for my own marriage. It helped me realize how very far John and I have come- not just because we have added more babies to the mix or moved across the country, but because we have grown together. We have built a shared vision of our future and are working together to make it a reality. And that may not sound terribly romantic, but at the end of the day, when I think about what I hope for my girls in their marriages, it is what John and I are working to be to each other: life partners.

I think any mother of daughters would enjoy this book, and I think it would be a great read for moms who are looking at their daughter's future and realizing that the trip to the bridal shop may be coming sooner rather than later.

To read more of what others thought of the book, check out the BlogHer Book Club discussion.

One of my favorites of me in my dress.
December 26, 2009


* Yes, I say this about my daughters, and only my daughters, because I cannot imagine the day when I will not be my son's "best girl." I know it will happen one day, and that it will be the right thing for him to move forward and build his own family with his wife, but I'm just not able to picture that day. On the other hand, I totally can picture the day when Abigail and Anna will walk down the aisle (not so much Ava Joy, because I can't even picture her walking yet) and I know what I want for them on those days...


Disclosure: BlogHer paid me to write this review, y'all! Yee-haw! It's kind of like having a paying job, while being an at-home mom. But don't worry, I'm not very good at lying, even in writing, so you can trust me when I say all the opinions are my own. For reals. I mean, if I was making this stuff up, would I really have admitted that I thought this was a fiction book?

1 comment:

Eryka said...

Nice. Love the review and the fact that you can still read raising children, albeit less often than your early years. Thank you for the honesty about the book. Non-fiction really isn't my thing either, unless its a subject I'm really passionate about. Like food. And then mostly cookbooks.

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