I'm always excited to receive new books, especially books that haven't been published yet, and I was especially anxious to read Jeffrey Zaslow's The Magic Room, remembering the joy I took in finding my own wedding dress many years ago (ahem, not too many, though). Though the book was sweet and relatively enjoyable, it didn't provide the magic for me that I was hoping it would.
The book is set up to have each chapter essentially standing on its own, focusing on the Becker's Bridal in Fowler, Michigan. Jeffrey Zaslow visited the salon dozens of times and focused on telling the stories of six women choosing their dresses from Becker's. The stories aren't simply of the trying on of dresses but of how the women got to the point they're at. Between each chapter of a woman's story, backstory of Becker's which has been at its location since 1934. After each woman's story is told, the later chapters further the stories of each woman, but for me, they weren't sufficiently differentiated enough for me to recall which woman was which, so I had to do a lot of flipping back and forth to keep things straight. I wish the stories had been compelling enough that I wouldn't have had an issue remembering who was who.
I was fascinated simply by the history of Becker's, which has remained in the family for four generations now. I would have been content simply hearing about that history instead of sharing the spotlight with the women, some of whom I frankly didn't like. It made the book fairly disjointed for me, but on the plus side, it also meant I could pick it up and put it down fairly easily since each chapter was so self-contained - and relatively short.
This probably isn't a book I would pick up to read on my own, but it isn't my style in the end. And were I to read this not a part of the BlogHer Book Club, I think I probably would have skipped the chapters on Danielle and Heather and the like and instead focused on Becker's - from the back office manager who essentially becomes the character of Franck to make brides more comfortable to how the store transitioned ownership from Shelley's parents to her, which was not a planned, smooth transition.
Not surprisingly, there are tons of things to discuss about the book, whether you've read it or not. Join us at the BlogHer Book Club discussion where this week we're talking about our own experiences of visiting the "magic room" and choosing our wedding dresses. What was yours like?
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of "The Magic Room" by Jeffrey Zaslow for review purposes. I was also compensated for participating in this campaign, although all opinions remain - as always - my own.