Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow


By Jeffrey Zaslow

Published December 27, 2011


The New York Times bestselling journalist and author of The Girls from Ames, Jeffrey Zaslow, takes us to a multi- generational family owned small-town bridal shop to explore the emotional lives of women in the 21st century.

You may not have heard of Fowler, Michigan, much less Becker's Bridal. But for the thousands of women who have stepped inside, Becker's is the site of some of the most important moments of their lives-moments that speak to us all. Housed in a former bank, the boutique owners transformed the vault into a "magic room," with soft church lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that make lifelong dreams come true.

Illuminating the poignant aspects of a woman's journey to the altar, The Magic Room tells the stories of memorable women on the brink of commitment. Run by the same family for years, Becker's has witnessed transformations in how America views the institution of marriage; some of the shop's clientele are becoming stepmothers, or starting married life for a second time. In The Girls from Ames, beloved author Jeffrey Zaslow used friendships to explore the emotional lives of women. In The Magic Room, he turns his perceptive eye to weddings and weaves together secrets, memories and family tales to explore the hopes and dreams we have for our daughters.

I was extremely excited when I found out I had the opportunity to review this book.  I loved both of Zaslow's previous books THE LAST LECTURE and THE GIRLS FROM AMES.  I had a feeling I would love this one too, and I did.  Zaslow wrote this in much the same style as THE GIRLS FROM AMES, giving each bride their own chapter and then coming back to them at the end with their follow-up story.  Even though this is non-fiction, it reads smoothly and the emotion of each woman's story is the focus over the research studies that filter thoughout. 

I found all the history of brides, bridal dress shopping and familial relationships extremely interesting and made me think of my own dress shopping days.  I myself had two bridal dress shopping days, one when I was 20 and one when I was 25.  I never got to wear the first dress as I ended up breaking off the engagement, but the two shopping experiences were vastly different and reflected much of the research and experiences in the book.  I am sure you will also reflect on both your dress shopping day and your wedding day as you read the stories in this book.  I remember the dress I ended up with was one I never would have picked out, but once I put it on, the tears and the emotions were immediately there.  It was THE ONE.

What I also appreciated about this book was that even though it focuses on the bride, the dress and the big day, through the stories, it reminds you “It’s not just about the dress, the flowers, the reception. It’s about the man and the marriage and the life that will follow” (p. 256).

The Magic Room at Becker's Bridal

Keep the tissue box close by as you travel through the stories in this book.  Zaslow knew just whose stories to tell and you will want to know how each bride is doing after finishing the book.  By going to, you may be able to see updates and find other information about the book and the author.  Even though I have finished the book, I know the marriages and lives featured in this story go on.  I am praying all of them are blessed by the telling of their stories and their marriages are long, loving and strong. 

Thanks to Gotham Books and Librarything for providing me with an ARC of this book.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

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