Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

A year ago, I reviewed Meg Waite Clayton's debut novel, The Wednesday Sisters. Today, when it's release date for the paperback, the review is still appropriate. The Wednesday Sisters has become a hit with book clubs, and Clayton a favorite author for many groups, since she loves to do phone chats with the discussion groups.

Now that the book is out in paperback, it's the perfect book for Mother's Day, or for book groups. And, if you'd like to read a little more about Meg Waite Clayton, I interviewed her on July 28, at http://lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com/2008/07/interview-with-meg-waite-clayton.html.

As promised, though, here's my review of The Wednesday Sisters.

In a book perfect for book clubs, Meg Waite Clayton tells the story of five young women, wives and mothers, who find each other, and a lifelong friendship, in a children's park in Palo Alto, California. Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally are The Wednesday Sisters, women who support each other in the turbulent, changing years of the late '60s and early '70s.

Mary Frances O'Mara, Frankie, tells the story of five women who share an unspoken dream. When Frankie meets Linda, and then the others, she learns they all love books. Their book discussions eventually turn to a discussion of writing, and a dream no one dares whisper, that of being published someday. So, The Wednesday Sisters are born, when they agree to meet at the picnic tables on Wednesday mornings to write and critique the writing. This honesty about the writing forces them to share other secrets. Over the years, they gradually reveal more to each other. Readers learn early about the death of Linda's mother. But, why does Brett wear white gloves? Each woman will eventually share her deepest fears.

Frankie's voice is the right one to tell the story of five women who grow and change with a changing country. Her story looks back at the early years of lifelong friendship, friendship that grows and reflects changes in the early '70s. The Miss America pageant that links their lives is a perfect vehicle to show the changes in these five women, as well as the country.

I read the first two paragraphs of The Wednesday Sisters, and I knew it would be a wonderful book. Who can resist the second paragraph? "That's us, there in the photograph. Yes, that's me-in one of my chubbier phases, though I suppose one of these days I'll have to face up to the fact that it's the thinner me that's the "phase," not the chubbier one. And going left to right, that's Linda (her hair loose and combed, but then she brought the camera, she was the only one who knew we'd be taking a photograph). Next to her is Ally, pale as ever, and then Kath. And the one in the white gloves in front-the one in the coffin-that's Brett."

Frankie, Linda, Ally, Kath and Brett. It's worthwhile meeting them in The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton.

Meg Waite Clayton's website is www.megwaiteclayton.com

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The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. Random House Publishing Group, pub. date: May 5, 2009. ISBN 9780345502834 (paperback), 320p.

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