Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: The Magic Room

I recently read The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, for BlogHer Book Club.

I wanted to like this book. The premise sounded great. Subtitled "A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters," The Magic Room centers around Becker's Bridal, a successful bridal shop in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. Zaslow shares stories of brides who come to Becker's for their dresses. (Part of the experience is trying on favorite gowns in the store's mirrored "Magic Room.") He also focuses on the Becker family who has owned and operated the shop for generations.

Parts of the book really captured my attention. I was interested in the family dynamics of the Beckers in particular, and how they've been affected by the often all-consuming family business.

In general, though, I felt the author tried to do too much with the book. He'd obviously done his research; he shared plenty of statistics about marriage. But in a book that purports to be "About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters," the statistics somehow seemed to get in the way. Each story, about each family, was interesting...yet there were too many. I found myself getting mixed up as Zaslow jumped from one story to another.

If Zaslow had simply made this a story about the Becker family--perhaps with short anecdotes about their clients and occasional statistics about marriage--then The Magic Room might have been more magical...or at least more focused.

To read more about The Magic Room, check out the book's BlogHer Book Club page here.

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary digital copy of the book, and a small stipend for participating in this program and providing my honest opinions.


Call Me Cate said...

I read it too and had a lot of the same feelings you expressed here. While fiction serves the purpose of telling a story, non-fiction also needs a purpose and I couldn't figure out what his was supposed to be. He had some amazing material to work with and it never came together for me as an enjoyable larger piece.

I AM curious though about the future of the shop. Will Alyssa stay or go? Will she marry Cory?

ShortWoman said...

Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one who found that jumping from bride to bride confusing.

Sasha said...

Read about this book over the weekend in one of the magazines that comes in the Sunday paper... possibly Parade? Or maybe the USA Today one.