The more I have begun to feel like a person again, the more I have been able to get back into my favorite hobby, reading. So I was giddy when I was given the opportunity to read The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow as part of the Blog Her Book Club.
What an absolutely lovely book. The Magic Room tells the story of a small bridal shop, Beckers, in Fowler, Michigan that has been passed from mother to daughter across three generations. The book intertwines the story of the Becker family and their relationship to the store with vignettes about brides who are shopping for their gowns.
When I first started reading it, I described it as "like Say Yes to the Dress, if Say Yes to the Dress were really sweet and less commercial." The more I got into it, though, I realized that it was about so much more than that. The moment of shopping for the dress, of stepping into the "Magic Room" of endless mirrors, was simply a window for seeing into the lives and loves of these women and their mothers (and sometimes daughters). The book's subtitle "A Story about the love we wish for our daughters" makes more and more sense as the book goes on.
The stories the book tells are touching and sometimes heartbreaking but never seem to reach the point of being cloying or manipulative. Whether describing a forty year old widow, a young single mom, or a girl who saved her first kiss for her husband, Zaslow seems to withhold judgment. The relationships are immediate, and the description is done with an extremely gentle touch. Woven in with these narratives, however, is an extremely smart sociological analysis of the direction that relationships are taking in our era, both in marriage and with our daughters.
The Magic Room is clearly a book with heart and with a brain both. It was the perfect book for me to read this holiday season.
I was provided with a copy of this book to review and am being compensated for participating in this campaign. All opinions expressed herein are, however, my own.