Monday, April 23, 2012

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family. For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967.

These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year. As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books.

Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.

My take: 4 stars
I liked this one very much! It was a little slow for me to get into, but I think that's because I could not spend any quality time with it at the outset. However, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I feel as if I am a part of this group, and care about the characters very much.

The group is formed under very realisitc circumstances and I can imagine this happening in any park in any part of the world, with any group of women. The timeline was used in a fantastic way with bits of history thrown in to lend reference, appeal, move the story and invest the reader. The ladies grew and matured with the story, each one developing and unfolding as any real woman would. Every personality was represented here, making it even more lifelike and endearing. The tears didn't come for me until page 267, and I breathed a sigh of satisfaction at the last paragraph.

Wonderful, recommended book. Can't wait to read more by this author!

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