Friday, December 30, 2011

The Magic Room (review).

Some books grab and hold your attention from the first sentence to the last. Others seem eh and get better with each chapter until you simply can't put them down.

And still others make you think they are changing from eh to attention-holding but they never do.

I just finished reading The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, for the BlogHer Book Club review program, and the poor book was decidedly in that last category.

It wasn't a bad book -- far from it. It was just . . . a little disappointing.

The Magic Room carries a subtitle "A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters" but that doesn't really say anything about the book. I found the subtitle completely misleading. Instead, Zaslow's book is a statistic-heavy look at the societal trends surrounding marriage, the wedding industry and, sorta love. Using the backdrop of Becker's Bridal, an independent bridal shop in Fowler, Michigan, Zaslow shares the stories of several different brides along with the stories of the stores owners (current owner, Shelley, the previous owner, her mother, and the founder, her grandmother).

Zaslow has an easy story-telling style and the stories he shares from the different brides he profiled in the book are interesting -- there's a bride who has been saving her first kiss for her wedding day, another who suffers from Rheumatic Fever and never thought she would find someone to marry because of her debilitating illness -- but they don't work 100% well in this book. The stories are chopped up and only shared in bits and pieces throughout the book.

And let's get back to that subtitle: "A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters." That's not the story  of this book. Zaslow spends a lot of time discussing the marriage industry and how it has changed over the past 80 or so years. The success of a small independent shop in the mid-West is certainly remarkable in a time when brides go to mega retailers like David's Bridal for inexpensive dresses or hunt online. He also spends sharing statistics about divorce rates, marriage age trends and the like. It was all good information, but it was not a  "A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters." A story about marriage in America, maybe, but that wasn't the subtitle.

It's too bad. A subtitle like that does nothing to make a mom of two boys want to pick up the book. So, in a way, the publisher probably knocked the book off the list of a bunch of potential readers. Oh, well.

All in all, I'm glad I read the book and I think that those who are interested in weddings and marriage and who go all gaga over shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Bridezillas" and whatever else is out there would probably enjoy the book. If that's you, pick up a copy! I just found that every time the book was moving out of the eh category, it fell right back in.

Thanks for reading my totally non-running review today. More running this weekend -- got a half marathon coming up. Yikes!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Review disclosure: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.


Lora Abernathy said...

Too bad it ended up being a waste. Happy New Year!

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